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Sample records for corales del parque

  1. [Sponges (porifera) distribution along a depth gradient in a coral reef, Parque Nacional San Esteban, Carabobo, Venezuela].

    PubMed

    Núñez Flores, Mónica; Rodríguez-Quintal, José Gregorio; Cristina Díaz, María

    2010-10-01

    Sponges constitute one of the most diverse and abundant animal groups in the marine tropical benthos especially in coral reefs, though poorly studied to species level. The aim of this study is to characterize the sponge community along a depth gradient at Isla Larga (Parque Nacional San Esteban, Venezuela) fringe reef. Net and total sedimentation, roughness index, sponge species richness, density and proportion of the bottom covered by sponges, were evaluated at seven depths (1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 m), 17 species were identified grouped in 10 demosponges families. The highest densities and coverage corresponded to 6 m of depth (6.03ind/m2; 11%), that coincides with the lowest net sedimentation and highest substrate heterogeneity. Most abundant species were Desmapsamma anchorata, Amphimedon erina and Scopalina rueztleri. Principal component analysis divided this community in three zones according to depth. The shallow zone of the reef (1 and 3 m), where wave force and high irradiance exert a constant stress sponges, shows the lowest density and coverage by sponges. In contrast, medium depth (6, 9 y 12 m) and deep zone (15 y 18 m) with lower light and sedimentation levels seem to enhance sponge growth and survival that are reflected on the higher densities and coverage of sponges.

  2. Survival of captive-reared Hispaniolan Parrots released in Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Collazo, J.A.; White, T.H.; Vilella, F.J.; Guerrero, S.A.

    2003-01-01

    We report first-year survival rates of 49 captive-reared Hispaniolan Parrots (Amazona ventralis) released in Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic. Our goal was to learn about factors affecting postrelease survival. Specifically, we tested if survival was related to movements and whether modifying prerelease protocols influenced survival rates. We also estimated survival in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges (22 September 1998). Twenty-four parrots, fitted with radio-transmitters, were released between 14 September and 12 December 1997. Twenty-five more were released between 29 June and 16 September 1998. First-year survival rates were 30% in 1997 and 29% in 1998. Survival probability was related to bird mobility. In contrast to birds released in 1997, none of the 25 parrots released in 1998 suffered early postrelease mortality (i.e., 3-5 days after release). Two adjustments to prerelease protocols (increased exercise and reduced blood sampling) made in 1998 may have contributed to differences in mobility and survival between years. The reduction of early postrelease mortality in 1998 was encouraging, as was the prospect for higher first-year survival (e.g., 30% to 65%). Only one death was attributed to the immediate impact of the hurricane. Loss of foraging resources was likely a major contributor to ensuing mortality. Birds increased their mobility, presumably in search of food. Survival rates dropped 23% in only eight weeks posthurricane. This study underscores the value of standardized prerelease protocols, and of estimating survival and testing for factors that might influence it. Inferences from such tests will provide the best basis to make adjustments to a release program.

  3. The origin of oriented lakes in the Andean foreland, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine (Chilean Patagonia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzales, Joseph; Aydin, Atilla

    2008-05-01

    The Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine and surrounding area in the Magallanes foreland basin in Chilean Patagonia is the site for numerous lakes fed by glaciers and rivers in the Andean highlands to the west. The lakes are elongate and have conspicuously systematic orientations. We hypothesize that the origin of the oriented lakes lies in the fault system, composed of a right-lateral strike-slip fault set oriented 58° from north, a left-lateral strike-slip set oriented 87°, and a thrust fault set oriented 167°, that exists within the underlying rocks. To test this hypothesis quantitatively, we determined the shape and orientation of the lakes by fitting each lake with an ellipse of appropriate aspect ratio, and later with multiple ellipses consistent with the composite geometry of some lakes. We then examined the faults in the area in terms of their kinematics, orientation and distribution. The distribution of lake orientations showed three distinct groups which appear to correspond to the three main fault groups. For lakes fitted with multiple ellipses, the difference in means between the right-lateral, left-lateral, and thrust faults and their corresponding groups of lakes are 3.05°, 1.57°, and 5.17°. Using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) statistical test to compare the orientations of faults with respect to the lakes suggests that there is not a strongly significant difference between the fault orientations and the corresponding lake groups. These results indicate that the faults have a profound control on the orientation, shape, and distribution of the lakes. We attribute this to faults and their damage zones being weaker and therefore prone to a faster rate of erosion, and to stress perturbations associated with discontinuous faults resulting in localized high density fracturing and surface subsidence. These results have implications for lake and drainage system morphologies in other foreland basins along the Andes and other similar settings.

  4. Assessing the ecological effects of human impacts on coral reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    PubMed

    Seemann, Janina; González, Cindy T; Carballo-Bolaños, Rodrigo; Berry, Kathryn; Heiss, Georg A; Struck, Ulrich; Leinfelder, Reinhold R

    2014-03-01

    Environmental and biological reef monitoring was conducted in Almirante Bay (Bahía Almirante) in Bocas del Toro, Panama, to assess impacts from anthropogenic developments. An integrated monitoring investigated how seasonal temperature stress, turbidity, eutrophication and physical impacts threatened reef health and biodiversity throughout the region. Environmental parameters such as total suspended solids [TSS], carbon isotopes (δ(13)C), C/N ratios, chlorophyll a, irradiance, secchi depth, size fractions of the sediments and isotope composition of dissolved inorganic carbon [DIC] of the water were measured throughout the years 2010 and 2011 and were analysed in order to identify different impact sources. Compared to data from Collin et al. (Smithsonian Contributions to the Marine Sciences 38:324-334, 2009) chlorophyll a has doubled at sites close to the city and the port Almirante (from 0.46-0.49 to 0.78-0.97 μg l(-1)) and suspension load increased, visible by a decrease in secchi depth values. Visibility decreased from 9-13 m down to 4 m at the bay inlet Boca del Drago, which is strongly exposed to river run off and dredging for the shipping traffic. Eutrophication and turbidity levels seemed to be the determining factor for the loss of hard coral diversity, most significant at chlorophyll a levels higher than 0.5 μg l(-1) and TSS levels higher than 4.7 mg l(-1). Hard coral cover within the bay has also declined, at some sites down to <10 % with extremely low diversities (7 hard coral species). The hard coral species Porites furcata dominated the reefs in highly impacted areas and showed a strong recovery after bleaching and a higher tolerance to turbidity and eutrophication compared to other hard coral species in the bay. Serious overfishing was detected in the region by a lack of adult and carnivorous fish species, such as grunts, snappers and groupers. Study sites less impacted by anthropogenic activities and/or those with local protection showed a

  5. Sources and spatial distribution of heavy metals in scleractinian coral tissues and sediments from the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama.

    PubMed

    Berry, Kathryn L E; Seemann, Janina; Dellwig, Olaf; Struck, Ulrich; Wild, Christian; Leinfelder, Reinhold R

    2013-11-01

    Marine ecosystems worldwide are threatened by aquatic pollution; however, there is a paucity in data from the Caribbean region. As such, five heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, copper, zinc, mercury) were measured in tissues of the scleractinian corals Porites furcata and Agaricia tenuifolia and in adjacent sediments in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. Samples were collected from five reef sites along a gradient of distance from an international shipping port and were analysed using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrophotometry for mercury. Copper and zinc were the most abundant metals and ranged from 11 to 63 mg kg(-1) and from 31 to 185 mg kg(-1) in coral tissues, respectively. The highest concentration of each metal was measured in P. furcata tissues, with copper and mercury concentrations significantly higher in P. furcata than in A. tenuifolia at every site. These results suggest that P. furcata has a higher affinity for metal accumulation and storage than A. tenuifolia. With the exception of cadmium, metal concentrations in coral tissues were generally elevated at coral reefs in closer proximity to the port; however, this pattern was not observed in sediments. Hard coral cover was lowest at reefs in closest proximity to the port, suggesting that metal pollution from port-related activities is influencing hard coral abundance at nearby coral reefs.

  6. [Coral reefs of Bocas del Toro, Panamá: IV. Distribution, structure and conservation state of continental reefs of Peninsula Valiente].

    PubMed

    Guzmán, H M; Guevara, C A

    2001-03-01

    This is the fourth and last contribution describing the individual structure, distribution and conservation status of coral reefs in the Province of Bocas del Toro. Here we describe 14 new reefs along 129 km of coast from Peninsula Valiente to Río Calovébora. Average live coral coverage for this region was 17.1% (+/- 3.6%), mainly in the western region of the peninsula (Bahia Bluefield and Ensenada Tobobe). Coral cover increases with depth (> 5 m) for most species at several reefs and the corals Porites furcata and Acropora palmata dominated shallow waters. Acropora palmata was found abundant in 43% of the studied reefs and toward the regions of the Ensenada Tobobe and Punta Valiente. Coral recruitment rates were similar in distribution to those reefs with greater coral coverage, with average densities of 4 recruit/m2 (maximum 9 recruits/m2) and mainly Agaricia spp., Porites astreoides and Siderastrea siderea. The greater diversity of corals and sponges was recorded toward the western side of the peninsula, with a total of 55 coral species in the study area, including two new records for Bocas del Toro (59 species in total), Dichocoenia stellaris and Madracis luciphila and increasing the diversity of corals of Panama to 65 species. We found 24 species of octocorals and Gorgonia mariae, Muriceopsis sulphurea and Muricea laxaoosens, are informed for the first time to the area, increasing in 10% the diversity for Bocas del Toro (32 in total). We recorded 48 sponges, including five new species for the area and representing an increase of 9% in the total number (58). Large populations of Acropora palmata were found in the Ensenada Tobobe, what justifies once again the need for modifying the existing protected area, so that this new region is incorporated within the conservation plans.

  7. Investigación del USGS sobre el ecosistema de arrecifes de coral en el Atlántico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.; Torres-Garcia, Legna M.

    2015-10-23

    Los arrecifes de coral son estructuras sólidas, biomineralizadas que protegen comunidades costeras actuando como barreras protectoras de peligros tales como los huracanes y los tsunamis. Estos proveen arena a las playas a través de procesos naturales de erosión, fomentan la industria del turismo, las actividades recreacionales y proveen hábitats pesqueros esenciales. La conti-nua degradación mundial de ecosistemas de arrecifes de coral está bien documentada. Existe la necesidad de enfoque y organización de la ciencia para entender los procesos complejos físicos y biológicos e interacciones que están afectando el estado de los arrecifes coralinos y su capacidad para responder a un entorno cambiante.

  8. Coral microbiology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  9. Decadal Scale Tropical Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Indices as Recorded by a Modern Dominican Coral (1935-1996)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greer, L.; Swart, P. K.

    2002-12-01

    In contrast to research in the tropical Pacific, there have been few definitive studies utilizing proxy records within Atlantic coral skeletons to provide information on the climate dynamics in this region. In order to study associations between salinity and temperature in the Subtropical North Atlantic, a core was retrieved from a colony of the coral species Montastraea annularis at El Pe¤¢n located in the northwestern region of Parque Nacional del Este (PNE), Dominican Republic. Decadal oscillations in the δ18O of the coral skeleton correlate with SST anomalies (SSTA) in the tropical North Atlantic for much of the period from 1935 to 1996. Cospectral analyses of coral δ18O and documented tropical Atlantic SSTAs reveal a dominant frequency of ~12-15 years. This decadal frequency is well documented in observed Atlantic SST data and models of tropical Atlantic climate. We do not believe that fluctuations in the δ18O of this coral reflect local temperature or precipitation patterns. Instead we suggest that the δ18O of the coral is related to Caribbean wide salinity anomalies, which are in turn related to tropical Atlantic SSTAs. The correlation between coral δ18O and tropical Atlantic SSTA may indicate that when a southward SSTA gradient is pronounced, tradewinds north of the ITCZ increase, enhancing evaporation in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. The net increase in evaporation coupled with a strengthening of gyre circulation could result in a relative increase in the transport of more saline water into the Caribbean via the Mona Passage. When a northward SST gradient is present, precipitation associated with the northern extent of the ITCZ may decrease the mean salinity of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre and/or gyre circulation. A relative increase in the transport of less saline South Equatorial waters to the Caribbean could result. However, the correlation between coral δ18O and tropical SST anomalies changes significantly between 1960 and

  10. 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.

  11. A second, cryptic species of the soft coral genus Incrustatus (Anthozoa: Octocorallia: Clavulariidae) from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, revealed by DNA barcoding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McFadden, Catherine S.; van Ofwegen, Leen P.

    2013-03-01

    The encrusting soft coral Incrustatus comauensis is a common denizen of hard substrates in the shallow sub-tidal zone from the central Chilean fjords to the Cape Horn region of southern South America. DNA barcoding of specimens collected from the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, revealed the presence of a second, cryptic species of Incrustatus that is syntopic with I. comauensis. We describe Incrustatus niarchosi, a new species that can be distinguished morphologically from I. comauensis by differences in the microscopic ornamentation of the coenenchymal sclerites. To date, I. niarchosi n. sp. is known only from the Beagle Channel. A population of I. comauensis discovered in the intertidal zone in eastern Tierra del Fuego represents a new record of the species for that habitat and geographic region. Although the intertidal population is also distinct genetically, it is morphologically indistinguishable from sub-tidal Chilean populations of I. comauensis, and at present, there is insufficient evidence to support its status as a separate species.

  12. Monitoring coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves in Costa Rica (CARICOMP).

    PubMed

    Cortés, Jorge; Fonseca, Ana C; Nivia-Ruiz, Jaime; Nielsen-Muñoz, Vanessa; Samper-Villarreal, Jimena; Salas, Eva; Martínez, Solciré; Zamora-Trejos, Priscilla

    2010-10-01

    The coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves from the Costa Rican Caribbean coast have been monitored since 1999 using the CARICOMP protocol. Live coral cover at Meager Shoal reef bank (7 to 10 m depth) at the Parque Nacional Cahuita (National Park), increased from 13.3% in 1999, to 28.2% in 2003, but decreased during the next 5 years to around 17.5%. Algal cover increased significantly since 2003 from 36.6% to 61.3% in 2008. The density of Diadema antillarum oscillated between 2 and 7ind/m2, while Echinometra viridis decreased significantly from 20 to 0.6ind/m2. Compared to other CARICOMP sites, live coral cover, fish diversity and density, and sea urchin density were low, and algal cover was intermediate. The seagrass site, also in the Parque Nacional Cahuita, is dominated by Thalassia testudinum and showed an intermediate productivity (2.7 +/- 1.15 g/m2/d) and biomass (822.8 +/- 391.84 g/m2) compared to other CARICOMP sites. Coral reefs and seagrasses at the Parque Nacional Cahuita continue to be impacted by high sediment loads from terrestrial origin. The mangrove forest at Gandoca, within the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo (National Wildlife Refuge), surrounds a lagoon and it is dominated by the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle. Productivity and flower production peak was in July. Biomass (14 kg/m2) and density (9.0 +/- 0.58 trees/100 m2) in Gandoca were relatively low compared to other CARICOMP sites, while productivity in July in Costa Rica (4 g/m2/d) was intermediate, similar to most CARICOMP sites. This mangrove is expanding and has low human impact thus far. Management actions should be taken to protect and preserve these important coastal ecosystems.

  13. 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. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  14. The coral probiotic hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Reshef, Leah; Koren, Omry; Loya, Yossi; Zilber-Rosenberg, Ilana; Rosenberg, Eugene

    2006-12-01

    Emerging diseases have been responsible for the death of about 30% of corals worldwide during the last 30 years. Coral biologists have predicted that by 2050 most of the world's coral reefs will be destroyed. This prediction is based on the assumption that corals can not adapt rapidly enough to environmental stress-related conditions and emerging diseases. Our recent studies of the Vibrio shiloi/Oculina patagonica model system of the coral bleaching disease indicate that corals can indeed adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions by altering their population of symbiotic bacteria. These studies have led us to propose the Coral Probiotic Hypothesis. This hypothesis posits that a dynamic relationship exists between symbiotic microorganisms and environmental conditions which brings about the selection of the most advantageous coral holobiont. Changing their microbial partners would allow the corals to adapt to changing environmental conditions more rapidly (days to weeks) than via mutation and selection (many years). An important outcome of the Probiotic Hypothesis would be development of resistance of the coral holobiont to diseases. The following evidence supports this hypothesis: (i) Corals contain a large and diverse bacterial population associated with their mucus and tissues; (ii) the coral-associated bacterial population undergoes a rapid change when environmental conditions are altered; and (iii) although lacking an adaptive immune system (no antibodies), corals can develop resistance to pathogens. The Coral Probiotic Hypothesis may help explain the evolutionary success of corals and moderate the predictions of their demise.

  15. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. Forecasting decadal changes in sea surface temperatures and coral bleaching within a Caribbean coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Angang; Reidenbach, Matthew A.

    2014-09-01

    Elevated sea surface temperature (SST) caused by global warming is one of the major threats to coral reefs. While increased SST has been shown to negatively affect the health of coral reefs by increasing rates of coral bleaching, how changes to atmospheric heating impact SST distributions, modified by local flow environments, has been less understood. This study aimed to simulate future water flow patterns and water surface heating in response to increased air temperature within a coral reef system in Bocas del Toro, Panama, located within the Caribbean Sea. Water flow and SST were modeled using the Delft3D-FLOWcomputer simulation package. Locally measured physical parameters, including bathymetry, astronomic tidal forcing, and coral habitat distribution were input into the model and water flow, and SST was simulated over a four-month period under present day, as well as projected warming scenarios in 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s. Changes in SST, and hence the thermal stress to corals, were quantified by degree heating weeks. Results showed that present-day reported bleaching sites were consistent with localized regions of continuous high SST. Regions with highest SST were located within shallow coastal sites adjacent to the mainland or within the interior of the bay, and characterized by low currents with high water retention times. Under projected increases in SSTs, shallow reef areas in low flow regions were found to be hot spots for future bleaching.

  18. Corals as climate recorders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flannery, Jennifer A.; Poore, Richard Z.

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Effects of the 1991-92 El Niño on scleractinian corals of the Costa Rican central Pacific coast.

    PubMed

    Jiménez, C; Cortés, J

    2001-12-01

    Coral communities on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica were affected during the 1991-92 El Niño warming event. More than 57% of all observed colonies at three localities (Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Punta Cambutal, and Parque Marino Ballena) were bleached. Mortality during this El Niño was much lower (approximately 9%) than in previous events. Psammocora spp. accounted for approximately 66% of dead corals, while massive (Porites lobota, Pavona spp.) and branching (Pocillopora spp.) for approximately 34%. Our results suggest that the observed bleaching in P. lobata was related to zooxanthellar densities and not to changes in pigment concentrations: only chlorophyll a varied between normally pigmented and bleached colonies at one locality (Ballena). Site differences in zooxanthellar densities or their pigment concentrations, may not be the result of the bleaching event itself, because a percentage of dead corals and zooxanthellar densities of bleached colonies seems to follow a trend with the exposure to tidal regimes and currents at each site. Local oceanographic conditions can be influencing the zooxanthellar densities and their response to the warming, together with intrinsic differences between colonies as well. The impact of this event can be considered serious given the short period of time that elapsed between El Niño related mortalities and the slow reefs recovery, the mode of reproduction of reef building species, and the anthropogenic-originated disturbances which affect the coral communities and reefs of the Costa Rican central Pacific coast.

  20. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

    Around the world, coral reefs are dying due to human influences, and saving habitat alone may not stop this destruction. This investigation focused on the biological processes that will provide the first steps in understanding the cryobiology of whole coral fragments. Coral fragments are a partnership of coral tissue and endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium sp., commonly called zooxanthellae. These data reflected their separate sensitivities to chilling and a cryoprotectant (dimethyl sulfoxide) for the coral Pocillopora damicornis, as measured by tissue loss and Pulse Amplitude Modulated fluorometry 3weeks post-treatment. Five cryoprotectant treatments maintained the viability of the coral tissue and zooxanthellae at control values (1M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0h exposures, and 1.5M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0 and 1.5h exposures, P>0.05, ANOVA), whereas 2M concentrations did not (P<0.05, ANOVA). A seasonal response to chilling was observed in the coral tissue, but not in the zooxanthellae. During the winter when the fragments were chilled, the coral tissue remained relatively intact (∼25% loss) post-treatment, but the zooxanthellae numbers in the tissue declined after 5min of chilling (P<0.05, ANOVA). However, in the late spring, coral tissue (∼75% loss) and zooxanthellae numbers declined in response to chilling alone (P<0.05, ANOVA). When a cryoprotectant (1M dimethyl sulfoxide) was used in concert with chilling it protected the coral against tissue loss after 45min of cryoprotectant exposure (P>0.05, ANOVA), but it did not protect against the loss of zooxanthellae (P<0.05, ANOVA). The zooxanthellae are the most sensitive element in the coral fragment complex and future cryopreservation protocols must be guided by their greater sensitivity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. The CORALS Connection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Plankis, Brian; Klein, Carolyn

    2010-01-01

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

  2. The CORALS Connection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Plankis, Brian; Klein, Carolyn

    2010-01-01

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

  3. Phage therapy for Florida corals?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2007-01-01

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

  4. Coral Cratering Phenomenology.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-10-31

    effect for producing the final crater volumes. Based on a known relationship between high-explosive cratering in coral and a similar continen- tal...mhh|hhMENENEinllmiEilEEE- IIIELJEIEOIOEIII E~hhhhhEE|hlhI �oo 96 3 DNA 5813T 0 4f CORAL CRATERING PHENOMENOLOGY R. L. LaFrenz Systems, Science...PERIOD COVERED Topical Report for Perio CORAL CRATERING PHENOMENOLOGY 1 May 77-31 Oct 80 S. PERFORMING ORG. REPORT NUMBER 7. AUTHOR(s) 8. CONTRACT OR

  5. Uterine cervical neoplasia prevention in Parque Indigena do Xingu.

    PubMed

    Speck, N M de Góis; Pereira, E R; Schaper, M; Tso, F K; de Freitas, V G; Ribalta, J C L

    2009-01-01

    Results of preventive health measures, diagnosis and treatment applied to Parque Indigena do Xingu native women were studied. Thirty-seven cases of uterine cervical intraepithelial lesions and invasive neoplasias were treated in the local villages without referral to an advanced medical center. LEEPs were carried out in 32 women, three cold knife conizations, one vaginal hysterectomy and one Wertheim Meigs procedure. Results of 53.1% of LEEP surgical procedures did not have margin involvement by the lesions. Bleeding complications were seen in 15.6%. Regular follow-up with two or three cytologic and colposcopic tests in 32 women was carried out. All cases were negative for lesions. Five women were not followed-up due mainly to logistical reasons. Health endeavors adopted in the period 2005-2007 brought about a significant reduction of precursor lesions in this native aboriginal population without screening resources.

  6. Cytopathological screening in indigenous women from Parque Indigena do Xingu.

    PubMed

    de Gois Speck, N M; Pereira, E R; Schaper, M; Rodrigues, D; Almeida, P; Sakano, C R; Ribalta, J C L

    2009-01-01

    Over the years, there have been many deaths due to cervical cancer among indigenous women of the Parque Indigena do Xingu as a consequence of low screening coverage. Since 2005, however, the coverage index of cervical lesion screening has been high: 97.6% among at-risk women in 2005 and 92.6% in 2007. Cytological alterations occurred in 12.6% and 6% of the cases in the respective years. After complete diagnosis and treatment of uterine lesions, by staff trained in lower tract pathology, negative results were seen in all cases of high-grade lesions and invasive neoplasia and no case of invasive carcinoma was detected in 2007. We conclude, therefore, that health actions have been effective in decreasing the incidence of cytological alterations and invasive carcinoma.

  7. Can corals be harvested sustainably?

    PubMed

    Harriott, Vicki J

    2003-03-01

    The international trade in corals has been identified as a potential cause of localized depletion of coral populations in the major coral-exporting countries. The international coral trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) agreement, which requires that export of corals is not detrimental to the species. The primary coral importing regions (USA and Europe) have threatened to limit or ban coral imports unless sustainable practices can be demonstrated. The spatial and temporal scale at which sustainability is defined is important in evaluating sustainability, e.g. at geological, regional or local scales. Other major issues are: the ecology of the target species; management options including provision of no-take areas; and the potential for coral culture. Implementation of practices that enhance ecological sustainability in the coral harvest fishery is possible, but may be difficult in some developing countries because of limited natural-resource management capacity.

  8. Disease of coral and coral reef fishes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Panek, Frank

    2008-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caldeira, Ken

    2013-05-01

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

  10. Warm waters, bleached corals

    SciTech Connect

    Roberts, L.

    1990-10-12

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

  11. Pulsating Soft Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khatri, Shilpa; Holzman, Roi; Miller, Laura; Samson, Julia; Shavit, Uri

    2016-11-01

    Soft corals of the family Xeniidae have a pulsating motion, a behavior not observed in many other sessile organisms. We are studying how this behavior may give these corals a competitive advantage. We will present experimental data and computational simulations of the pulsations of the coral. Video data and kinematic analysis will be shown from the lab and the field. We will present direct numerical simulations of the pulsations of the coral and the resulting fluid flow by solving the Navier-Stokes equations coupled with the immersed boundary method. Furthermore, parameter sweeps studying the resulting fluid flow will be discussed. This work is supported by NSF PoLS #1505061 (to S. Khatri) and #1504777 (to L. Miller).

  12. Hurricanes benefit bleached corals.

    PubMed

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

    2007-07-17

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

  13. Hurricanes benefit bleached corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

  14. Heterotrophy in tropical scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Houlbrèque, Fanny; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2009-02-01

    The dual character of corals, that they are both auto- and heterotrophs, was recognized early in the twentieth Century. It is generally accepted that the symbiotic association between corals and their endosymbiotic algae (called zooxanthellae) is fundamental to the development of coral reefs in oligotrophic tropical oceans because zooxanthellae transfer the major part of their photosynthates to the coral host (autotrophic nutrition). However, numerous studies have confirmed that many species of corals are also active heterotrophs, ingesting organisms ranging from bacteria to mesozooplankton. Heterotrophy accounts for between 0 and 66% of the fixed carbon incorporated into coral skeletons and can meet from 15 to 35% of daily metabolic requirements in healthy corals and up to 100% in bleached corals. Apart from this carbon input, feeding is likely to be important to most scleractinian corals, since nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients that cannot be supplied from photosynthesis by the coral's symbiotic algae must come from zooplankton capture, particulate matter or dissolved compounds. A recent study showed that during bleaching events some coral species, by increasing their feeding rates, are able to maintain and restore energy reserves. This review assesses the importance and effects of heterotrophy in tropical scleractinian corals. We first provide background information on the different food sources (from dissolved organic matter to meso- and macrozooplankton). We then consider the nutritional inputs of feeding. Finally, we review feeding effects on the different physiological parameters of corals (tissue composition, photosynthesis and skeletal growth).

  15. Coral bleaching: Thermal adaptation in reef coral symbionts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowan, Rob

    2004-08-01

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

  16. The orchid-bee faunas (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of 'Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal', 'Parque Nacional do Descobrimento' and three other Atlantic Forest remnants in southern Bahia, eastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Nemésio, A

    2013-05-01

    The orchid-bee faunas of 'Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal', 'Parque Nacional do Descobrimento' and three other Atlantic Forest remnants ranging from 1 to 300 ha in southern Bahia, eastern Brazil, were surveyed. Baits with seventeen different scents were used to attract orchid-bee males. Four thousand seven hundred and sixty-four males belonging to 36 species were actively collected with insect nets during 300 hours from November, 2008 to November, 2009. Richness and diversity of orchid bees found in this study are the highest ever recorded in the Atlantic Forest domain. Eufriesea dentilabris (Mocsáry, 1897) and Eufriesea violacea (Blanchard, 1840) were collected at the 'Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal', the first record of these species for the state of Bahia and the northernmost record for both species. Females Exaerete dentata (Linnaeus, 1758) were also collected at 'Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal' and old records of Eufriesea aeneiventris (Mocsáry, 1896) in this area makes this site the richest and most diverse concerning its orchid-bee fauna in the entire Atlantic Forest and similar to areas in the Amazon Basin.

  17. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  19. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

    The concept of bioindication in the sense of the use of organisms for detecting environmental stress has been employed in coral reef conservation and management for the past several years. Important tools are coral growth rates and various community parameters, notably hard coral cover. The present need is the optimal coordination of international efforts for the earliest possible institution of an effective monitoring system.

  20. Coral reefs in crisis.

    PubMed

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

    This article reports on the crisis facing reefs throughout the world and the struggle to save them. Coral reefs, one of the biological wonders of the world, are among the largest and oldest living communities of plants and animals on earth, having been evolved between 200 and 450 million years ago. Located mostly in the Pacific region, most established coral reefs are now dead and only the upper layer is covered by a thin changeable skin of living coral. Reefs, over the years, have been the main source of animal protein for over 1 billion people in Asia. Countries near the coastlines, which relied on the seas, have resorted to dynamite fishing, poisoning and other illegal and dangerous techniques. Overpopulation and pollution has caused the deteriorating conditions of the 600,000 sq. km of coral reefs worldwide. Despite these conditions, the government has ignored this problem as they struggle to develop their economies at the expense of common resources. In addition, this article narrates the efforts that are exerted by governments in promoting coral reef protection and management of these coastal resources, setting the Apo Island in the Philippines as an example of good management and sustainability.

  1. Chronicling coral death

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friebele, Elaine

    How would a geologist approach an assessment of the health of coral reefs? Readers of the June 1997 issue of Geotimes learn the answer by following the thoughts of George, a fictional geologist attending an international conference on global reef decline.In “Gauging the Health of the World's Coral Reefs: Monitoring vs. Mapping,” University of Miami marine geologist Robert N. Ginsburg, using the voice of George, suggests that mapping dead and dying corals would document the history and extent of reef decline and provide more clues about the relationship between coral health and such factors as location and ocean circulation than would monitoring. By some estimates, as many as 10% of the world's reefs have been seriously damaged by over-exploitation, pollution, disease, ocean warming, and predators. Twenty years ago, 50% of the sea floor near Jamaica was covered by living coral; today, that coverage has decreased to 5%. In response to this decline, an international coalition has designated 1997 as the International Year of the Reef.

  2. Palaeoglaciation of Parque Natural Lago de Sanabria, northwest Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cowton, T.; Hughes, P. D.; Gibbard, P. L.

    2009-07-01

    Detailed geomorphological mapping provides evidence for at least three phases of glaciation in the Parque Natural Lago de Sanabria, in northwest Spain. The most extensive glaciation was characterised by a large plateau ice cap. A combination of geomorphological evidence and glacier modelling indicates that this ice cap covered an area of more than 440 km 2, with a maximum ice thickness of c. 300 m and outlet glaciers reaching as low as 1000 m. This represents the largest ice mass in Iberia outside the Pyrenees and one of the largest in the mountains of southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Radiocarbon dates from the base of lacustrine sequences appear to suggest that the most extensive phase of ice-cap glaciation occurred during the last cold stage (Weichselian) with deglaciation occurring before 14-15 ka 14C BP. A second phase of glaciation is recorded by the moraines of valley glaciers, which may have drained small plateau ice caps; whilst a final phase of glaciation is recorded by moraines in the highest cirques.

  3. Snake bite: coral snakes.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Michael E

    2006-11-01

    North American coral snakes are distinctively colored beginning with a black snout and an alternating pattern of black, yellow, and red. They have fixed front fangs and a poorly developed system for venom delivery, requiring a chewing action to inject the venom. The severity of a coral snake bite is related to the volume of venom injected and the size of the victim. The length of the snake correlates positively with the snakes venom yield. Coral snake venom is primarily neurotoxic with little local tissue reaction or pain at the bite site. The net effect of the neurotoxins is a curare like syndrome. In canine victims there have been reports of marked hemolysis with severe anemia and hemoglobinuria. The onset of clinical signs may be delayed for as much as 10 to 18 hours. The victim begins to have alterations in mental status and develops generalized weakness and muscle fasciculations. Progression to paralysis of the limbs and respiratory muscles then follows. The best flied response to coral snake envenomation is rapid transport to a veterinary medical facility capable of 24 hour critical care and assisted ventilation. First aid treatment advocated in Australia for Elapid bites is the immediate use of a compression bandage. The victim should be hospitalized for a minimum of 48 hours for continuous monitoring. The only definitive treatment for coral snake envenomation is the administration of antivenin (M. fulvius). Once clinical signs of coral snake envenomation become manifest they progress with alarming rapidity and are difficult to reverse. If antivenin is not available or if its administration is delayed, supportive care includes respiratory support. Assisted mechanical ventilation can be used but may have to be employed for up to 48 to 72 hours.

  4. Chronic coral consumption by butterflyfishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-03-01

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

  5. Corals from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

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

  6. Corals from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

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

  7. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yap, Helen T.

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

  8. CORAL REEF BIOCRITERIA

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  9. Coral reefs at risk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    Eighty-eight percent of Southeast Asia's reefs are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing, and sedimentation and pollution from inland activities, according to a new report by 35 regional scientists published by the World Resources Institute.Nearly 100,000 square kilometers of coral reefs—34% of the world's total—are located in Southeast Asia.

  10. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  11. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  12. CORAL REEF BIOCRITERIA

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  13. Ecological intereactions of reef building corals

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  14. Ecological intereactions of reef building corals

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  15. To understand coral disease, look at coral cells

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Meteyer, Carol U.

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bonaldo, Roberta M.; Hay, Mark E.

    2014-01-01

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

  18. Spionidae (Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Falcón, Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Bone, D; Viéitez, J M

    2002-03-01

    Five species of polychaetes (Spionidae) were found associated to Thalassia testudinum meadows in Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela. We included a guide for their identification and present range extensions for the Venezuelan coasts and Southern Caribbean Sea. The species are: Dipolydora socialis, Prionospio (Minuspio) cirrifera, P. (Prionospio) fallax, P. (P.) steenstrupi, and Spio pettiboneae.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  20. [Reef fishes community structure of Playa Mero, Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela].

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, J; Villamizar, E

    2000-12-01

    The coral reef fish community was studied in Playa Mero, Morrocoy National Park, after the mass mortality of January, 1996 with a systematic sampling design. Transects and quadrates were used for corals, and a visual census for fishes. The coral community is highly disturbed with extensive areas of dead coral covered by algae, and low coverage and richness of coral species, gorgonians, sponges and briozooans. These factors have generated a relatively homogeneous environment with respect to the fish community, which was dominated by Scaridae and Pomacentridae that represented 75% of fish. Dominant fishes were mainly herbivorous (75.4% of all fish) apparently because of the disturbance that caused the settling of algae.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  3. Coral reefs. Limited scope for latitudinal extension of reef corals.

    PubMed

    Muir, Paul R; Wallace, Carden C; Done, Terence; Aguirre, J David

    2015-06-05

    An analysis of present-day global depth distributions of reef-building corals and underlying environmental drivers contradicts a commonly held belief that ocean warming will promote tropical coral expansion into temperate latitudes. Using a global data set of a major group of reef corals, we found that corals were confined to shallower depths at higher latitudes (up to 0.6 meters of predicted shallowing per additional degree of latitude). Latitudinal attenuation of the most important driver of this phenomenon-the dose of photosynthetically available radiation over winter-would severely constrain latitudinal coral range extension in response to ocean warming. Latitudinal gradients in species richness for the group also suggest that higher winter irradiance at depth in low latitudes allowed a deep-water fauna that was not viable at higher latitudes.

  4. Coral reefs and carbon dioxide

    SciTech Connect

    Buddemeier, R.W.

    1996-03-01

    This commentary argues the conclusion from a previous article, which investigates diurnal changes in carbon dioxide partial pressure and community metabolism on coral reefs, that coral `reefs might serve as a sink, not a source, for atmospheric carbon dioxide.` Commentaries from two groups are given along with the response by the original authors, Kayanne et al. 27 refs.

  5. Coral can have growth anomalies

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. The future of coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knowlton, Nancy

    2001-05-01

    Coral reefs, with their millions of species, have changed profoundly because of the effects of people, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Reefs are subject to many of the same processes that affect other human-dominated ecosystems, but some special features merit emphasis: (i) Many dominant reef builders spawn eggs and sperm into the water column, where fertilization occurs. They are thus particularly vulnerable to Allee effects, including potential extinction associated with chronic reproductive failure. (ii) The corals likely to be most resistant to the effects of habitat degradation are small, short-lived "weedy" corals that have limited dispersal capabilities at the larval stage. Habitat degradation, together with habitat fragmentation, will therefore lead to the establishment of genetically isolated clusters of inbreeding corals. (iii) Increases in average sea temperatures by as little as 1°C, a likely result of global climate change, can cause coral "bleaching" (the breakdown of coral-algal symbiosis), changes in symbiont communities, and coral death. (iv) The activities of people near reefs increase both fishing pressure and nutrient inputs. In general, these processes favor more rapidly growing competitors, often fleshy seaweeds, and may also result in explosions of predator populations. (v) Combinations of stress appear to be associated with threshold responses and ecological surprises, including devastating pathogen outbreaks. (vi) The fossil record suggests that corals as a group are more likely to suffer extinctions than some of the groups that associate with them, whose habitat requirements may be less stringent.

  7. The future of coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Knowlton, N

    2001-05-08

    Coral reefs, with their millions of species, have changed profoundly because of the effects of people, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Reefs are subject to many of the same processes that affect other human-dominated ecosystems, but some special features merit emphasis: (i) Many dominant reef builders spawn eggs and sperm into the water column, where fertilization occurs. They are thus particularly vulnerable to Allee effects, including potential extinction associated with chronic reproductive failure. (ii) The corals likely to be most resistant to the effects of habitat degradation are small, short-lived "weedy" corals that have limited dispersal capabilities at the larval stage. Habitat degradation, together with habitat fragmentation, will therefore lead to the establishment of genetically isolated clusters of inbreeding corals. (iii) Increases in average sea temperatures by as little as 1 degrees C, a likely result of global climate change, can cause coral "bleaching" (the breakdown of coral-algal symbiosis), changes in symbiont communities, and coral death. (iv) The activities of people near reefs increase both fishing pressure and nutrient inputs. In general, these processes favor more rapidly growing competitors, often fleshy seaweeds, and may also result in explosions of predator populations. (v) Combinations of stress appear to be associated with threshold responses and ecological surprises, including devastating pathogen outbreaks. (vi) The fossil record suggests that corals as a group are more likely to suffer extinctions than some of the groups that associate with them, whose habitat requirements may be less stringent.

  8. Coral can have growth anomalies

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  9. STONY CORAL RAPID BIOASSESSMENT PROTOCOL

    EPA Science Inventory

    At a time when coral reefs worldwide are in the greatest decline of their known existence, and despite the enormous value of coral reef ecosystem services, there are relatively few tools available to resource managers to offset the growing impact of human activities. However, we...

  10. The biology and economics of coral growth.

    PubMed

    Osinga, Ronald; Schutter, Miriam; Griffioen, Ben; Wijffels, René H; Verreth, Johan A J; Shafir, Shai; Henard, Stéphane; Taruffi, Maura; Gili, Claudia; Lavorano, Silvia

    2011-08-01

    To protect natural coral reefs, it is of utmost importance to understand how the growth of the main reef-building organisms-the zooxanthellate scleractinian corals-is controlled. Understanding coral growth is also relevant for coral aquaculture, which is a rapidly developing business. This review paper provides a comprehensive overview of factors that can influence the growth of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals, with particular emphasis on interactions between these factors. Furthermore, the kinetic principles underlying coral growth are discussed. The reviewed information is put into an economic perspective by making an estimation of the costs of coral aquaculture.

  11. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

    Coral reef bleaching, the whitening of diverse invertebrate taxa, results from the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or a reduction in photosynthetic pigment concentrations in zooxanthellae residing within the gastrodermal tissues of host animals. Of particular concern are the consequences of bleaching of large numbers of reef-building scleractinian corals and hydrocorals. Published records of coral reef bleaching events from 1870 to the present suggest that the frequency (60 major events from 1979 to 1990), scale (co-occurrence in many coral reef regions and often over the bathymetric depth range of corals) and severity (>95% mortality in some areas) of recent bleaching disturbances are unprecedented in the scientific literature. The causes of small scale, isolated bleaching events can often be explained by particular stressors (e.g., temperature, salinity, light, sedimentation, aerial exposure and pollutants), but attempts to explain large scale bleaching events in terms of possible global change (e.g., greenhouse warming, increased UV radiation flux, deteriorating ecosystem health, or some combination of the above) have not been convincing. Attempts to relate the severity and extent of large scale coral reef bleaching events to particular causes have been hampered by a lack of (a) standardized methods to assess bleaching and (b) continuous, long-term data bases of environmental conditions over the periods of interest. An effort must be made to understand the impact of bleaching on the remainder of the reef community and the long-term effects on competition, predation, symbioses, bioerosion and substrate condition, all factors that can influence coral recruitment and reef recovery. If projected rates of sea warming are realized by mid to late AD 2000, i.e. a 2°C increase in high latitude coral seas, the upper thermal tolerance limits of many reef-building corals could be exceeded. Present evidence suggests that many corals would be unable to adapt

  12. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for their response to gradients of human disturbance. The purpose of the study was to identify indicators that could be used for regulatory assessments under authority of the Clean Water Act--this requires that indicators distinguish anthropogenic disturbances from natural variation. Stony coral indicators were tested for correlation with human disturbance across gradients located on three different sides of the island. At the most intensely disturbed location, five of eight primary indicators were highly correlated with distance from the source of disturbance: Coral taxa richness, average colony size, the coefficient of variation of colony size (an indicator of colony size heterogeneity), total topographic coral surface area, and live coral surface area. An additional set of exploratory indicators related to rarity, reproductive and spawning mode, and taxonomic identity were also screened for association with disturbance at the same location. For the other two locations, there were no significant changes in indicator values and therefore no discernible effects of human activity. Coral indicators demonstrated sufficient precision to detect levels of change that would be applicable in a regio

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

    PubMed

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Gil-Agudelo, Diego Luis; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá). The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10 x 2m) with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters) are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2), and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2). Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD), and White Plague Disease (WPD) were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A. grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years) variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few long

  14. CoBOP Coral Reefs: Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1999-09-30

    CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field Charles S. Yentsch Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences 180 McKown Point W...REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-1999 to 00-00-1999 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine...affecting the decline of coral reefs is change in water transparency driven by anthropogenic rather than natural processes. Corals are known to

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Coral reef protection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the establishment on 13 November of the first U.S. zone to protect a sensitive coral reef area from potential damage by ships.The Florida Keys' Particularly Sensitive Sea Area, just one of a handful of such areas globally, has been designated by the International Maritime Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. The area protects a zone of more than 3,000 square nautical miles stretching from the Biscayne National Park to the Dry Tortugas.

  18. [Syllinae (Syllidae: Polychaeta) of the Parque Nacional de Coiba, Panama].

    PubMed

    Capa, M; San Martín, G; López, E

    2001-03-01

    Four expeditions were made to Coiba National Park between 1996 and 1998 to characterize this part of the poorly known Panamian Pacific polychaete fauna. The samples were collected by SCUBA diving, either by removing 4 kg blocks of dead coral (Pocillopora sp.) or scraping off 25 x 25 cm quadrats of Telesto multiflora or algae (Dyctiota cf. flavellata, Padina cf. durvillaei and another currently unidentified species). This paper deals with the Syllinae from hard substrates. Twenty-two species belonging to six genera of the subfamily Syllinae Grube, 1850 (Syllidae: Polychaeta) are reported. A new species, Syllis castroviejoi, is described. Four species are newly reported for the Eastern Pacific: Syllis beneliahuae (Campoy & Alquézar, 1982), S. botosaneanui (Hartmann-Schröder, 1973), S. corallicola Verrill, 1900 and S. garciai (Campoy, 1982), and, likewise, two species are first reports for the Central American Pacific coast: Branchiosyllis pacifica Rioja, 1941 and Syllis truncata Haswell, 1920. Two species, Syllis magna (Westheide, 1974) and S. pigmentata (Chamberlin, 1919), are newly reported for Panama.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Coral transplantation triggers shift in microbiome and promotion of coral disease associated potential pathogens

    PubMed Central

    Casey, Jordan M.; Connolly, Sean R.; Ainsworth, Tracy D.

    2015-01-01

    By cultivating turf algae and aggressively defending their territories, territorial damselfishes in the genus Stegastes play a major role in shaping coral-algal dynamics on coral reefs. The epilithic algal matrix (EAM) inside Stegastes’ territories is known to harbor high abundances of potential coral disease pathogens. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on coral microbial assemblages, we established a coral transplant inside and outside of Stegastes’ territories. Over the course of one year, the percent mortality of transplanted corals was monitored and coral samples were collected for microbial analysis. As compared to outside damselfish territories, Stegastes were associated with a higher rate of mortality of transplanted corals. However, 16S rDNA sequencing revealed that territorial grazers do not differentially impact the microbial assemblage of corals exposed to the EAM. Regardless of Stegastes presence or absence, coral transplantation resulted in a shift in the coral-associated microbial community and an increase in coral disease associated potential pathogens. Further, transplanted corals that suffer low to high mortality undergo a microbial transition from a microbiome similar to that of healthy corals to that resembling the EAM. These findings demonstrate that coral transplantation significantly impacts coral microbial communities, and transplantation may increase susceptibility to coral disease. PMID:26144865

  3. Coral transplantation triggers shift in microbiome and promotion of coral disease associated potential pathogens.

    PubMed

    Casey, Jordan M; Connolly, Sean R; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2015-07-06

    By cultivating turf algae and aggressively defending their territories, territorial damselfishes in the genus Stegastes play a major role in shaping coral-algal dynamics on coral reefs. The epilithic algal matrix (EAM) inside Stegastes' territories is known to harbor high abundances of potential coral disease pathogens. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on coral microbial assemblages, we established a coral transplant inside and outside of Stegastes' territories. Over the course of one year, the percent mortality of transplanted corals was monitored and coral samples were collected for microbial analysis. As compared to outside damselfish territories, Stegastes were associated with a higher rate of mortality of transplanted corals. However, 16S rDNA sequencing revealed that territorial grazers do not differentially impact the microbial assemblage of corals exposed to the EAM. Regardless of Stegastes presence or absence, coral transplantation resulted in a shift in the coral-associated microbial community and an increase in coral disease associated potential pathogens. Further, transplanted corals that suffer low to high mortality undergo a microbial transition from a microbiome similar to that of healthy corals to that resembling the EAM. These findings demonstrate that coral transplantation significantly impacts coral microbial communities, and transplantation may increase susceptibility to coral disease.

  4. Advancing Ocean Monitoring Near Coral Reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heron, Scott F.; Steinberg, Craig R.; Heron, Mal L.; Mantovanelli, Alessandra; Jaffrés, Jasmine B. D.; Skirving, William J.; McAllister, Felicity; Rigby, Paul; Wisdom, Daniel; Bainbridge, Scott

    2010-10-01

    Corals, the foundation of tropical marine ecosystems, exist in a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae (algae). The corals obtain much of their energy by consuming compounds derived from photosynthesis by these microorganisms; the microorganisms, which reside in the coral tissue, in turn use waste products from the corals to sustain photosynthesis. This symbiosis is very sensitive to subtle changes in environment, such as increased ocean acidity, temperature, and light. When unduly stressed, the colorful algae are expelled from the corals, causing the corals to “bleach” and potentially die [e.g., van Oppen and Lough, 2009].

  5. Coral bleaching: the role of the host.

    PubMed

    Baird, Andrew H; Bhagooli, Ranjeet; Ralph, Peter J; Takahashi, Shunichi

    2009-01-01

    Coral bleaching caused by global warming is one of the major threats to coral reefs. Very recently, research has focused on the possibility of corals switching symbionts as a means of adjusting to accelerating increases in sea surface temperature. Although symbionts are clearly of fundamental importance, many aspects of coral bleaching cannot be readily explained by differences in symbionts among coral species. Here we outline several potential mechanisms by which the host might influence the bleaching response, and conclude that predicting the fate of corals in response to climate change requires both members of the symbiosis to be considered equally.

  6. Coral Sr-U Thermometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeCarlo, T. M.; Gaetani, G. A.; Cohen, A. L.; Foster, G. L.; Alpert, A.; Stewart, J.

    2016-12-01

    Coral skeletons archive the past two millennia of climate variability in the oceans with unrivaled temporal resolution. However, extracting accurate temperature information from coral skeletons is confounded by "vital effects", which often override the temperature dependence of geochemical proxies. Here, we present a new approach to coral paleothermometry based on results of abiogenic precipitation experiments interpreted within a framework provided by a quantitative model of the coral biomineralization process. We conducted laboratory experiments to test the temperature and carbonate chemistry controls on abiogenic partitioning of Sr/Ca and U/Ca between aragonite and seawater, and we modeled the sensitivity of skeletal composition to processes occurring at the site of calcification. The model predicts that temperature can be accurately reconstructed from coral skeleton by combining Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios into a new proxy, Sr-U. We tested the model predictions with measured Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios of fourteen Porites sp. corals collected from the tropical Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea, with a subset also analyzed using the boron isotope (δ11B) pH proxy. Observed relationships among Sr/Ca, U/Ca, and δ11B agree with model predictions, indicating that the model accounts for the key features of the coral biomineralization process. We calibrated Sr-U to instrumental temperature records and found that it captures 93% of mean annual variability (26-30 °C) and predicts temperature within 0.5 °C (1 σ). Conversely, Sr/Ca alone has an error of prediction of 1 °C and often diverges from observed temperature by 3 °C or more. Many of the problems afflicting Sr/Ca - including offsets among neighboring corals and decouplings from temperature during coral stress events - are reconciled by Sr-U. By accounting for the influence of the coral biomineralization process, the Sr-U thermometer may offer significantly improved reliability for reconstructing ocean temperatures from coral

  7. Coral Sr-U thermometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeCarlo, Thomas M.; Gaetani, Glenn A.; Cohen, Anne L.; Foster, Gavin L.; Alpert, Alice E.; Stewart, Joseph A.

    2016-06-01

    Coral skeletons archive past climate variability with unrivaled temporal resolution. However, extraction of accurate temperature information from coral skeletons has been limited by "vital effects," which confound, and sometimes override, the temperature dependence of geochemical proxies. We present a new approach to coral paleothermometry based on results of abiogenic precipitation experiments interpreted within a framework provided by a quantitative model of the coral biomineralization process. DeCarlo et al. (2015a) investigated temperature and carbonate chemistry controls on abiogenic partitioning of Sr/Ca and U/Ca between aragonite and seawater and modeled the sensitivity of skeletal composition to processes occurring at the site of calcification. The model predicts that temperature can be accurately reconstructed from coral skeleton by combining Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios into a new proxy, which we refer to hereafter as the Sr-U thermometer. Here we test the model predictions with measured Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios of 14 Porites sp. corals collected from the tropical Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea, with a subset also analyzed using the boron isotope (δ11B) pH proxy. Observed relationships among Sr/Ca, U/Ca, and δ11B agree with model predictions, indicating that the model accounts for the key features of the coral biomineralization process. By calibrating to instrumental temperature records, we show that Sr-U captures 93% of mean annual temperature variability (26-30°C) and has a standard deviation of prediction of 0.5°C, compared to 1°C using Sr/Ca alone. The Sr-U thermometer may offer significantly improved reliability for reconstructing past ocean temperatures from coral skeletons.

  8. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2000-10-19

    while afloat, Navy devel- also bite plastic objects as is the case with this oped and installed shipboard plastic waste processors, plastic bottle... epidemiology of this disease is unknown. More infections do seem to occur when corals are stressed. However, determining whether corals may be stressed due to...with informa- terial from the U.S. for dumping into ocean waters. The Caribbean spiny lobster and spider crab are usually only seen out at night

  9. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Irrefutable evidence of coral reef degradation worldwide and increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change have led to a focus on reef resilience and a call to “manage” coral reefs for resilience. Ideally, global action to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be accompanied by local action. Effective management requires reduction of local stressors, identification of the characteristics of resilient reefs, and design of marine protected area networks that include potentially resilient reefs. Future research is needed on how stressors interact, on how climate change will affect corals, fish, and other reef organisms as well as overall biodiversity, and on basic ecological processes such as connectivity. Not all reef species and reefs will respond similarly to local and global stressors. Because reef-building corals and other organisms have some potential to adapt to environmental changes, coral reefs will likely persist in spite of the unprecedented combination of stressors currently affecting them. The biodiversity of coral reefs is the basis for their remarkable beauty and for the benefits they provide to society. The extraordinary complexity of these ecosystems makes it both more difficult to predict their future and more likely they will have a future.

  10. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. Detecting Photosymbiosis in Fossil Scleractinian Corals.

    PubMed

    Tornabene, Chiara; Martindale, Rowan C; Wang, Xingchen T; Schaller, Morgan F

    2017-08-25

    The evolutionary success of reef-building corals is often attributed to photosymbiosis, a mutualistic relationship scleractinian corals developed with zooxanthellae; however, because zooxanthellae are not fossilized, it is difficult (and contentious) to determine whether ancient corals harbored symbionts. In this study, we analyze the δ(15)N of skeletal organic matrix in a suite of modern and fossil scleractinian corals (zooxanthellate- and azooxanthellate-like) with varying levels of diagenetic alteration. Significantly, we report the first analyses that distinguish shallow-water zooxanthellate and deep-water azooxanthellate fossil corals. Early Miocene (18-20 Ma) corals exhibit the same nitrogen isotopic ratio offset identified in modern corals. These results suggest that the coral organic matrix δ(15)N proxy can successfully be used to detect photosymbiosis in the fossil record. This proxy will significantly improve our ability to effectively define the evolutionary relationship between photosymbiosis and reef-building through space and time. For example, Late Triassic corals have symbiotic values, which tie photosymbiosis to major coral reef expansion. Furthermore, the early Miocene corals from Indonesia have low δ(15)N values relative to modern corals, implying that the west Pacific was a nutrient-depleted environment and that oligotrophy may have facilitated the diversification of the reef builders in the Coral Triangle.

  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. Coral calcification and ocean acidification

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. CoBOP Coral Reefs: Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-09-30

    CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field Dr. Charles S. Yentsch Bigelow Laboratory McKown Point Road West...2001 to 00-00-2001 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT

  15. THE CONDITION OF CORAL REEFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA (2000) USING CORAL DISEASE AND BLEACHING AS INDICATORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The destruction for coral reef habitats is occurring at unprecedented levels. Coral disease epizootics in the Southwestern Atlantic have lead to coral replacement by turf algae, prompting a call to classify some coral species as endangered. In addition, a massive bleaching event ...

  16. THE CONDITION OF CORAL REEFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA (2000) USING CORAL DISEASE AND BLEACHING AS INDICATORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The destruction for coral reef habitats is occurring at unprecedented levels. Coral disease epizootics in the Southwestern Atlantic have lead to coral replacement by turf algae, prompting a call to classify some coral species as endangered. In addition, a massive bleaching event ...

  17. Coral calcification in a changing ocean

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2010-01-01

    One of the goals of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project is to examine how calcification rates in reef-building corals and encrusting coralline algae are changing in response to changes in the ocean environment.

  18. CORAL DISEASE & HEALTH CONSORTIUM: FINDING SOLUTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Interior (DOI) developed the framework for a Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) for the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) through an interag...

  19. CORAL DISEASE & HEALTH CONSORTIUM: FINDING SOLUTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Interior (DOI) developed the framework for a Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) for the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) through an interag...

  20. CoBOP Coral Reefs: Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-09-30

    CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field Dr. Charles S. Yentsch Bigelow Laboratory McKown Point Road West...TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2002 to 00-00-2002 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field...remote assessment of salinity and ocean color in Florida Bay. In: The Everglades, Florida Bay and Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys: An Ecosystem

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1983-09-01

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

  2. Applying New Methods to Diagnose Coral Diseases

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.; Zawada, David G.

    2009-01-01

    Coral disease, one of the major causes of reef degradation and coral death, has been increasing worldwide since the 1970s, particularly in the Caribbean. Despite increased scientific study, simple questions about the extent of disease outbreaks and the causative agents remain unanswered. A component of the U.S. Geological Survey Coral Reef Ecosystem STudies (USGS CREST) project is focused on developing and using new methods to approach the complex problem of coral disease.

  3. The secret lives of corals: Climate records from coral chemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Beck, J.W.; Smoker, M.; Burr, G.

    1995-12-01

    Corals can provide archives of a diverse suite of information about the ocean surface mixed layer, including records of ocean surface temperature (via coral Sr/Ca or U/Ca measurements), salinity (via {gamma}{sup 18}O measurements), biologic activity (via {gamma}{sup 13}C measurements), and ocean/atmosphere CO{sub 2} exchange rates (via {sup 14}C/{sup 12}C measurements). Recently, it has been shown that corals record evidence of large seasonal oscillations in {sup 14}C concentration of the ocean surface mixed layer, and that such oscillations are modulated by ENSO. These oscillations are related to seasonal changes in the surface wind velocity field, changes in the patterns of regional upwelling, as well as seasonal changes in the strength of the thermocline. High frequency AMS {sup 14}C analyses of corals shows that ENSO events can dramatically diminish the annual range in ocean mixed layer {sup 14}C concentration in this region. Our work on a coral from Vanuatu in the western equatorial Pacific also documents large seasonal changes in {sup 14}C concentration (3-5%) as well as ENSO modulation of these variations during the 82-83 ENSO event.

  4. The future of coral reefs

    PubMed Central

    Knowlton, Nancy

    2001-01-01

    Coral reefs, with their millions of species, have changed profoundly because of the effects of people, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Reefs are subject to many of the same processes that affect other human-dominated ecosystems, but some special features merit emphasis: (i) Many dominant reef builders spawn eggs and sperm into the water column, where fertilization occurs. They are thus particularly vulnerable to Allee effects, including potential extinction associated with chronic reproductive failure. (ii) The corals likely to be most resistant to the effects of habitat degradation are small, short-lived “weedy” corals that have limited dispersal capabilities at the larval stage. Habitat degradation, together with habitat fragmentation, will therefore lead to the establishment of genetically isolated clusters of inbreeding corals. (iii) Increases in average sea temperatures by as little as 1°C, a likely result of global climate change, can cause coral “bleaching” (the breakdown of coral–algal symbiosis), changes in symbiont communities, and coral death. (iv) The activities of people near reefs increase both fishing pressure and nutrient inputs. In general, these processes favor more rapidly growing competitors, often fleshy seaweeds, and may also result in explosions of predator populations. (v) Combinations of stress appear to be associated with threshold responses and ecological surprises, including devastating pathogen outbreaks. (vi) The fossil record suggests that corals as a group are more likely to suffer extinctions than some of the groups that associate with them, whose habitat requirements may be less stringent. PMID:11344288

  5. CORAL DISEASE & HEALTH CONSORTIUM; PARTNERS FOR PRESERVATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Presented at EMAP Symposium 2001: Coastal Monitoring Through Partnerships, 24-27 April 2001, Pensacola Beach, FL.

    The Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) was one recommendation to the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF), to conserve the coral reef ecosystems of the U...

  6. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged...

  7. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2012-07-01 2011-07-01 true Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged...

  8. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged...

  9. CORAL DISEASE & HEALTH CONSORTIUM; PARTNERS FOR PRESERVATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Presented at EMAP Symposium 2001: Coastal Monitoring Through Partnerships, 24-27 April 2001, Pensacola Beach, FL.

    The Coral Disease and Health Consortium (CDHC) was one recommendation to the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF), to conserve the coral reef ecosystems of the U...

  10. Island Formation: Constructing a Coral Island

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Austin, Heather; Edd, Amelia

    2009-01-01

    The process of coral island formation is often difficult for middle school students to comprehend. Coral island formation is a dynamic process, and students should have the opportunity to experience this process in a synergistic context. The authors provide instructional guidelines for constructing a coral island. Students play an interactive role…

  11. Island Formation: Constructing a Coral Island

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Austin, Heather; Edd, Amelia

    2009-01-01

    The process of coral island formation is often difficult for middle school students to comprehend. Coral island formation is a dynamic process, and students should have the opportunity to experience this process in a synergistic context. The authors provide instructional guidelines for constructing a coral island. Students play an interactive role…

  12. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged...

  13. Caribbean massive corals not recovering from repeated thermal stress events during 2005-2013.

    PubMed

    Neal, Benjamin Paul; Khen, Adi; Treibitz, Tali; Beijbom, Oscar; O'Connor, Grace; Coffroth, Mary Alice; Knowlton, Nancy; Kriegman, David; Mitchell, B Greg; Kline, David I

    2017-03-01

    Massive coral bleaching events associated with high sea surface temperatures are forecast to become more frequent and severe in the future due to climate change. Monitoring colony recovery from bleaching disturbances over multiyear time frames is important for improving predictions of future coral community changes. However, there are currently few multiyear studies describing long-term outcomes for coral colonies following acute bleaching events. We recorded colony pigmentation and size for bleached and unbleached groups of co-located conspecifics of three major reef-building scleractinian corals (Orbicella franksi, Siderastrea siderea, and Stephanocoenia michelini; n = 198 total) in Bocas del Toro, Panama, during the major 2005 bleaching event and then monitored pigmentation status and changes live tissue colony size for 8 years (2005-2013). Corals that were bleached in 2005 demonstrated markedly different response trajectories compared to unbleached colony groups, with extensive live tissue loss for bleached corals of all species following bleaching, with mean live tissue losses per colony 9 months postbleaching of 26.2% (±5.4 SE) for O. franksi, 35.7% (±4.7 SE) for S. michelini, and 11.2% (±3.9 SE) for S. siderea. Two species, O. franksi and S. michelini, later recovered to net positive growth, which continued until a second thermal stress event in 2010. Following this event, all species again lost tissue, with previously unbleached colony species groups experiencing greater declines than conspecific sample groups, which were previously bleached, indicating a possible positive acclimative response. However, despite this beneficial effect for previously bleached corals, all groups experienced substantial net tissue loss between 2005 and 2013, indicating that many important Caribbean reef-building corals will likely suffer continued tissue loss and may be unable to maintain current benthic coverage when faced with future thermal stress forecast for the

  14. CORAL REEFS. Genomic determinants of coral heat tolerance across latitudes.

    PubMed

    Dixon, Groves B; Davies, Sarah W; Aglyamova, Galina A; Meyer, Eli; Bay, Line K; Matz, Mikhail V

    2015-06-26

    As global warming continues, reef-building corals could avoid local population declines through "genetic rescue" involving exchange of heat-tolerant genotypes across latitudes, but only if latitudinal variation in thermal tolerance is heritable. Here, we show an up-to-10-fold increase in odds of survival of coral larvae under heat stress when their parents come from a warmer lower-latitude location. Elevated thermal tolerance was associated with heritable differences in expression of oxidative, extracellular, transport, and mitochondrial functions that indicated a lack of prior stress. Moreover, two genomic regions strongly responded to selection for thermal tolerance in interlatitudinal crosses. These results demonstrate that variation in coral thermal tolerance across latitudes has a strong genetic basis and could serve as raw material for natural selection.

  15. How do corals make rocks?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falkowski, P. G.; Mass, T.; Drake, J.; Schaller, M. F.; Rosenthal, Y.; Schofield, O.; Sherrell, R. M.

    2014-12-01

    We have developed a three pronged approach to understanding how corals precipitate aragonite crystals and contain proxy biogeochemical information. Using proteomic and genomic approaches, we have identified 35 proteins in coral skeletons. Among these are a series of coral acidic proteins (CARPs). Based on their gene sequences, we cloned a subset of these proteins and purified them. Each of the proteins precipitate aragonite in vitro in unamended seawater. Antibodies raised against these proteins react with individual crystals of the native coral, clearly revealing that they are part of a biomineral structure. Based on the primary structure of the proteins we have developed a model of the precipitation reaction that focuses on a Lewis acid displacement of protons from bicarbonate anions by calcium ligated to the carboxyl groups on the CARPs. The reactions are highly acidic and are not manifestly influenced by pH above ca. 6. These results suggest that corals will maintain the ability to calcify in the coming centuries, despite acidification of the oceans.

  16. [Phlebotomine sandflies in Parque Nacional Cavernas do Peruaçu, Minas Gerais state, Brazil].

    PubMed

    Barata, Ricardo A; Antonini, Yasmine; Gonçalves, Caroline M; Costa, Daniela C; Dias, Edelberto S

    2008-01-01

    We surveyed the phlebotomine fauna in the Parque Nacional Cavernas do Peruaçu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, aiming to associate the presence of vector with the risk of leishmaniasis transmission. Field captures were performed with CDC light traps between February and March 2003. A total of 436 sand flies were captured, belonging to 14 species. The predominant species (28.7%) was Lutzomyia ischnacantha Martins, Souza e Falcão, followed by L. renei (27,06%) and L. cavernicola (13,07%). The finding of L. intermedia, a species that is incriminated as vector of cutaneous leishmaniasis, has to be taken into account.

  17. The effect of coral morphology on shelter selection by coral reef fishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerry, J. T.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2012-06-01

    While the loss of structural complexity causes declines in coral reef fish diversity, the processes leading to this decline are largely unexplained. To explore the role of coral morphology in providing shelter for fishes, tabular, branching and massive corals were filmed with video cameras and their usage by large reef fishes compared. Tabular corals were utilised more than the other two morphologies, with at least triple the abundance, biomass and residence times of large fishes. The preference of coral reef fishes for specific structural traits of tabular corals was also examined using artificial structural units. This experimental component showed that large reef fishes preferred opaque rather than translucent canopies. It appears that large fishes cue to tabular corals because of the concealment and/or shade provided. It is suggested that a loss of tabular corals as a result of climate change would have significant ecological impacts for the coral reef fishes that use these structures for shelter.

  18. Nutrient supply from fishes facilitates macroalgae and suppresses corals in a Caribbean coral reef ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Burkepile, Deron E; Allgeier, Jacob E; Shantz, Andrew A; Pritchard, Catharine E; Lemoine, Nathan P; Bhatti, Laura H; Layman, Craig A

    2013-01-01

    On coral reefs, fishes can facilitate coral growth via nutrient excretion; however, as coral abundance declines, these nutrients may help facilitate increases in macroalgae. By combining surveys of reef communities with bioenergetics modeling, we showed that fish excretion supplied 25 times more nitrogen to forereefs in the Florida Keys, USA, than all other biotic and abiotic sources combined. One apparent result was a positive relationship between fish excretion and macroalgal cover on these reefs. Herbivore biomass also showed a negative relationship with macroalgal cover, suggesting strong interactions of top-down and bottom-up forcing. Nutrient supply by fishes also showed a negative correlation with juvenile coral density, likely mediated by competition between macroalgae and corals, suggesting that fish excretion may hinder coral recovery following large-scale coral loss. Thus, the impact of nutrient supply by fishes may be context-dependent and reinforce either coral-dominant or coral-depauperate reef communities depending on initial community states.

  19. Miocene reef corals: A review

    SciTech Connect

    Frost, S.H.

    1988-01-01

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

  20. A novel reef coral symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pantos, O.; Bythell, J. C.

    2010-09-01

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

  1. Seawater transport during coral biomineralization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gagnon, Alexander C.; Adkins, Jess F.; Erez, Jonathan

    2012-05-01

    Cation transport during skeletal growth is a key process controlling metal/calcium (Me/Ca) paleoproxy behavior in coral. To characterize this transport, cultured corals were transferred into seawater enriched in the rare earth element Tb3 + as well as stable isotopes of calcium, strontium, and barium. Subsequent NanoSIMS ion images of each coral skeleton were used to follow uptake dynamics. These images show a continuous region corresponding to new growth that is homogeneously enriched in each tracer. Isotope ratio profiles across the new growth boundary transition rapidly from natural abundance ratios to a ratio matching the enriched culture solution. The location of this transition is the same for each element, within analytical resolution. The synchronous incorporation of all these cations, including the dissimilar ion terbium, which has no known biological function in coral, suggests that: (1) there is cation exchange between seawater and the calcifying fluid, and (2) these elements are influenced by similar transport mechanisms consistent with direct and rapid seawater transport to the site of calcification. Measured using isotope ratio profiles, seawater transport rates differ from place to place on the growing coral skeleton, with calcifying fluid turnover times from 30 min to 5.7 h. Despite these differences, all the elements measured in this study show the same transport dynamics at each location. Using an analytical geochemical model of biomineralization that includes direct seawater transport we constrain the role of active calcium pumping during calcification and we show that the balance between seawater transport and precipitation can explain observed Me/Ca variability in deep-sea coral.

  2. Coral benchmarks in the center of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Licuanan, W Y; Robles, R; Dygico, M; Songco, A; van Woesik, R

    2017-01-30

    There is an urgent need to quantify coral reef benchmarks that assess changes and recovery rates through time and serve as goals for management. Yet, few studies have identified benchmarks for hard coral cover and diversity in the center of marine diversity. In this study, we estimated coral cover and generic diversity benchmarks on the Tubbataha reefs, the largest and best-enforced no-take marine protected area in the Philippines. The shallow (2-6m) reef slopes of Tubbataha were monitored annually, from 2012 to 2015, using hierarchical sampling. Mean coral cover was 34% (σ±1.7) and generic diversity was 18 (σ±0.9) per 75m by 25m station. The southeastern leeward slopes supported on average 56% coral cover, whereas the northeastern windward slopes supported 30%, and the western slopes supported 18% coral cover. Generic diversity was more spatially homogeneous than coral cover.

  3. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Barnes, Michele L.; Bellwood, David R.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Cumming, Graeme S.; Jackson, Jeremy B. C.; Kleypas, Joanie; van de Leemput, Ingrid A.; Lough, Janice M.; Morrison, Tiffany H.; Palumbi, Stephen R.; van Nes, Egbert H.; Scheffer, Marten

    2017-06-01

    Coral reefs support immense biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services to many millions of people. Yet reefs are degrading rapidly in response to numerous anthropogenic drivers. In the coming centuries, reefs will run the gauntlet of climate change, and rising temperatures will transform them into new configurations, unlike anything observed previously by humans. Returning reefs to past configurations is no longer an option. Instead, the global challenge is to steer reefs through the Anthropocene era in a way that maintains their biological functions. Successful navigation of this transition will require radical changes in the science, management and governance of coral reefs.

  4. Wave transformation over coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Ian R.

    1989-07-01

    Ocean wave attenuation on coral reefs is discussed using data obtained from a preliminary field experiment and from the Seasat altimeter. Marked attenuation of the waves is observed, the rate being consistent with existing theories of bottom friction and wave breaking decay. In addition, there is a significant broadening of the spectrum during propagation across reefs. Three-dimensional effects, such as refraction and defraction, can also lead to substantial wave height reduction for significant distances adjacent to coral reefs. As a result, a matrix of such reefs provides significantly more wave attenuation than may initially be expected.

  5. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Terry P; Barnes, Michele L; Bellwood, David R; Cinner, Joshua E; Cumming, Graeme S; Jackson, Jeremy B C; Kleypas, Joanie; van de Leemput, Ingrid A; Lough, Janice M; Morrison, Tiffany H; Palumbi, Stephen R; van Nes, Egbert H; Scheffer, Marten

    2017-05-31

    Coral reefs support immense biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services to many millions of people. Yet reefs are degrading rapidly in response to numerous anthropogenic drivers. In the coming centuries, reefs will run the gauntlet of climate change, and rising temperatures will transform them into new configurations, unlike anything observed previously by humans. Returning reefs to past configurations is no longer an option. Instead, the global challenge is to steer reefs through the Anthropocene era in a way that maintains their biological functions. Successful navigation of this transition will require radical changes in the science, management and governance of coral reefs.

  6. CORAL Server and CORAL Server Proxy: Scalable Access to Relational Databases from CORAL Applications

    SciTech Connect

    Valassi, A.; Bartoldus, R.; Kalkhof, A.; Salnikov, A.; Wache, M.; /Mainz U., Inst. Phys.

    2012-04-19

    The CORAL software is widely used at CERN by the LHC experiments to access the data they store on relational databases, such as Oracle. Two new components have recently been added to implement a model involving a middle tier 'CORAL server' deployed close to the database and a tree of 'CORAL server proxies', providing data caching and multiplexing, deployed close to the client. A first implementation of the two new components, released in the summer 2009, is now deployed in the ATLAS online system to read the data needed by the High Level Trigger, allowing the configuration of a farm of several thousand processes. This paper reviews the architecture of the software, its development status and its usage in ATLAS.

  7. FLOATING COMMUNITIES OF ALGAE IN AN ARTIFICIAL POND IN THE PARQUE DO ESTADO, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL(1).

    PubMed

    de Mattos Bicudo, C E; Teixeira Bicudo, R M

    1967-12-01

    A fresluvater floating algal community was repeatedly observed in an artificial pond in the Parque do Estado São Paulo, Brazil. The ontogeny and composition of the community are discussed and are related to oxygen liberation during photosynthesis of the periphyton, or of the pond-bottom algne, which carries up portions of the algae growing there.

  8. The cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species winners into losers.

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

    Mass coral bleaching events caused by elevated seawater temperatures result in extensive coral loss throughout the tropics, and are projected to increase in frequency and severity. If bleaching becomes an annual event later in this century, more than 90% of coral reefs worldwide may be at risk of long-term degradation. While corals can recover from single isolated bleaching and can acclimate to recurring bleaching events that are separated by multiple years, it is currently unknown if and how they will survive and possibly acclimatize to annual coral bleaching. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that annual coral bleaching can dramatically alter thermal tolerance in Caribbean corals. We found that high coral energy reserves and changes in the dominant algal endosymbiont type (Symbiodinium spp.) facilitated rapid acclimation in Porites divaricata, whereas low energy reserves and a lack of algal phenotypic plasticity significantly increased susceptibility in Porites astreoides to bleaching the following year. Phenotypic plasticity in the dominant endosymbiont type of Orbicella faveolata did not prevent repeat bleaching, but may have facilitated rapid recovery. Thus, coral holobiont response to an isolated single bleaching event is not an accurate predictor of its response to bleaching the following year. Rather, the cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species 'winners' into 'losers', and can also facilitate acclimation and turn some coral species 'losers' into 'winners'. Overall, these findings indicate that cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching could result in some species becoming increasingly susceptible to bleaching and face a long-term decline, while phenotypically plastic coral species will acclimatize and persist. Thus, annual coral bleaching and recovery could contribute to the selective loss of coral diversity as well as the overall decline of coral reefs in the Caribbean. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Destruction of corals and other reef animals by coral spawn slicks on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, C. J.; Cary, J. L.; Masini, R. J.

    1993-11-01

    In March 1989, most of the corals near Coral Bay, off the north-western coastline of Australia, spawned several nights earlier than usual. Flood, rather than ebb, tides at the time of spawning combined with light north-west winds and low swell conditions to restrict the dispersal of coral propagules and, as a result, large amounts of coral spawn were trapped in the bay, forming extensive slicks. Fish and other animals began to die almost immediately, and over the next few days, over 1 million fish, representing at least 80 species, were washed ashore. A survey of the benthic communities revealed extensive mortality of corals and other reef animals over an area of about 3 km2. Live coral cover in this area decreased from 42.9% to 9.4% and several large coral colonies up to 10 m in diameter were killed. The observed mortality was presumably the result of hypoxia (oxygen depletion) created initially by the respiratory demand of the coral spawn and maintained by the biological oxygen demand of the decomposing spawn slicks and dead animals. Anecdotal reports of corals and other reef animals dying in the vicinity of coral spawn slicks on other reefs in Western Australia suggest that this phenomenon may be a relatively common event on shallow coral reefs where coral mass spawning occurs. These records and observations document, for the first time, a new source of natural disturbance that has a significant influence on the community structure of some coral reefs.

  10. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  11. Coral Reefs: Fishing for Sustainability.

    PubMed

    Darling, Emily S; D'agata, Stephanie

    2017-01-23

    Sustainable fisheries must ultimately reduce poverty while maintaining ecosystem productivity. On coral reefs, managing for 'concave' trophic pyramids might be a win-win for people and ecosystems, by providing higher-value fisheries and maintaining important ecological functions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Coral gardener of the Maldives.

    PubMed

    Straub, Jürg Oliver

    2002-04-01

    Abdul Azeez Abdul Hakeem is a man with a vision. He is 53 years old, with a degree in agronomy and an idea, if not an obsession: to nurse and propagate corals on a large scale. His motive, however, is not to provide for the international marine aquarium trade but as a safeguard for the livelihood of his country, the Maldives.

  13. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  14. Microbial diseases of corals and global warming.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Ben-Haim, Yael

    2002-06-01

    Coral bleaching and other diseases of corals have increased dramatically during the last few decades. As outbreaks of these diseases are highly correlated with increased sea-water temperature, one of the consequences of global warming will probably be mass destruction of coral reefs. The causative agent(s) of a few of these diseases have been reported: bleaching of Oculina patagonica by Vibrio shiloi; black band disease by a microbial consortium; sea-fan disease (aspergillosis) by Aspergillus sydowii; and coral white plague possibly by Sphingomonas sp. In addition, we have recently discovered that Vibrio coralyticus is the aetiological agent for bleaching the coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Red Sea. In the case of coral bleaching by V. shiloi, the major effect of increasing temperature is the expression of virulence genes by the pathogen. At high summer sea-water temperatures, V. shiloi produces an adhesin that allows it to adhere to a beta-galactoside-containing receptor in the coral mucus, penetrate into the coral epidermis, multiply intracellularly, differentiate into a viable-but-not-culturable (VBNC) state and produce toxins that inhibit photosynthesis and lyse the symbiotic zooxanthellae. In black band disease, sulphide is produced at the coral-microbial biofilm interface, which is probably responsible for tissue death. Reports of newly emerging coral diseases and the lack of epidemiological and biochemical information on the known diseases indicate that this will become a fertile area of research in the interface between microbial ecology and infectious disease.

  15. Molecular toxicology of corals: a review.

    PubMed

    Rotchell, Jeanette M; Ostrander, Gary K

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs worldwide have become increasingly affected by a phenomenon known as "coral bleaching," the loss of the symbiotic algae from the host corals. The underlying causes and mechanism(s) of coral bleaching are not well known, although several have been hypothesized. While coral bleaching has been a primary focus in recent years, corals respond differentially to numerous environmental stresses. The impacts of heat, hydrocarbons, salinity, sewage effluents, biocides, heavy metals, and ultraviolet light have been investigated in both laboratory experiments and field surveys among multiple coral species. Herein what is known regarding the biological impacts of such stresses on corals at the molecular level of organization is summarized. The objective is to focus attention at the early stages of biological effects in order to encourage and facilitate research that provide ways to understand how changes at the molecular level might elucidate processes likely occurring at the population level. This, in turn, should accelerate studies that may elucidate the cellular and physiological changes contributing to coral decline, rather than just document the continued global loss of coral diversity and abundance.

  16. Functional diversity in coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Stat, Michael; Morris, Emily; Gates, Ruth D

    2008-07-08

    Symbioses are widespread in nature and occur along a continuum from parasitism to mutualism. Coral-dinoflagellate symbioses are defined as mutualistic because both partners receive benefit from the association via the exchange of nutrients. This successful interaction underpins the growth and formation of coral reefs. The symbiotic dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium is genetically diverse containing eight divergent lineages (clades A-H). Corals predominantly associate with clade C Symbiodinium and to a lesser extent with clades A, B, D, F, and G. Variation in the function and interactive physiology of different coral-dinoflagellate assemblages is virtually unexplored but is an important consideration when developing the contextual framework of factors that contribute to coral reef resilience. In this study, we present evidence that clade A Symbiodinium are functionally less beneficial to corals than the dominant clade C Symbiodinium and may represent parasitic rather than mutualistic symbionts. Our hypothesis is supported by (i) a significant correlation between the presence of Symbiodinium clade A and health-compromised coral; (ii) a phylogeny and genetic diversity within Symbiodinium that suggests a different evolutionary trajectory for clade A compared with the other dominant Symbiodinium lineages; and (iii) a significantly lower amount of carbon fixed and released by clade A in the presence of a coral synthetic host factor as compared with the dominant coral symbiont lineage, clade C. Collectively, these data suggest that along the symbiotic continuum the interaction between clade A Symbiodinium and corals may be closer to parasitism than mutualism.

  17. Antagonistic interactions among coral-associated bacteria.

    PubMed

    Rypien, Krystal L; Ward, Jessica R; Azam, Farooq

    2010-01-01

    Reef-building corals are comprised of close associations between the coral animal, symbiotic zooxanthellae, and a diversity of associated microbes (including Bacteria, Archaea and Fungi). Together, these comprise the coral holobiont - a paradigm that emphasizes the potential contributions of each component to the overall function and health of the coral. Little is known about the ecology of the coral-associated microbial community and its hypothesized role in coral health. We explored bacteria-bacteria antagonism among 67 bacterial isolates from the scleractinian coral Montastrea annularis at two temperatures using Burkholder agar diffusion assays. A majority of isolates exhibited inhibitory activity (69.6% of isolates at 25 degrees C, 52.2% at 31 degrees C), with members of the gamma-proteobacteria (Vibrionales and Alteromonadales) being especially antagonistic. Elevated temperatures generally reduced levels of antagonism, although the effects were complex. Several potential pathogens were observed in the microbial community of apparently healthy corals, and 11.6% of isolates were able to inhibit the growth of the coral pathogen Vibrio shiloi at 25 degrees C. Overall, this study demonstrates that antagonism could be a structuring force in coral-associated microbial communities and may contribute to pathogenesis as well as disease resistance.

  18. Characterizing lesions in corals from American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Rameyer, R.A.

    2005-01-01

    The study of coral disease has suffered from an absence of systematic approaches that are commonly used to determine causes of diseases in animals. There is a critical need to develop a standardized and portable nomenclature for coral lesions in the field and to incorporate more commonly available biomedical tools in coral disease surveys to determine the potential causes of lesions in corals. We characterized lesions in corals from American Samoa based on gross and microscopic morphology and classified them as discoloration, growth anomalies, or tissue loss. The most common microscopic finding in corals manifesting discoloration was the depletion of zooxanthellae, followed by necrosis, sometimes associated with invasive algae or fungi. The most common microscopic lesion in corals manifesting tissue loss was cell necrosis often associated with algae, fungi, or protozoa. Corals with growth anomaly had microscopic evidence of hyperplasia of gastrovascular canals, followed by necrosis associated with algae or metazoa (polychaete worms). Several species of apparently normal corals also had microscopic changes, including the presence of bacterial aggregates or crustacea in tissues. A single type of gross lesion (e.g., discoloration) could have different microscopic manifestations. This phenomenon underlines the importance of using microscopy to provide a more systematic description of coral lesions and to detect potential pathogens associated with these lesions.

  19. Evaluating coral reef health in American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, T.M.; Rameyer, R.A.

    2005-01-01

    The study of coral disease has suffered from an absence of systematic approaches that are commonly used to determine causes of diseases in animals. There is a critical need to develop a standardized and portable nomenclature for coral lesions in the field and to incorporate more commonly available biomedical tools in coral disease surveys to determine the potential causes of lesions in corals. We characterized lesions in corals from American Samoa based on gross and microscopic morphology and classified them as discoloration, growth anomalies, or tissue loss. The most common microscopic finding in corals manifesting discoloration was the depletion of zooxanthellae, followed by necrosis, sometimes associated with invasive algae or fungi. The most common microscopic lesion in corals manifesting tissue loss was cell necrosis often associated with algae, fungi, or protozoa. Corals with growth anomaly had microscopic evidence of hyperplasia of gastrovascular canals, followed by necrosis associated with algae or metazoa (polychaete worms). Several species of apparently normal corals also had microscopic changes, including the presence of bacterial aggregates or crustacea in tissues. A single type of gross lesion (e.g., discoloration) could have different microscopic manifestations. This phenomenon underlines the importance of using microscopy to provide a more systematic description of coral lesions and to detect potential pathogens associated with these lesions.

  20. 9. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    9. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3812) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 DESOTO PLAZA FOUNTAIN - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  1. 6. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    6. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3791) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 ALHAMBRA ENTRANCE (COMMERCIAL ENTRANCE) - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  2. 8. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    8. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3829) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 SEGOVIA PLAZA AT NORTH GREENWAY DRIVE - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  3. 7. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    7. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3828) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 SEGOVIA PLAZA - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  4. 14. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    14. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, CK 109) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 ALHANBRA CIRCLE, VIEW TOWARDS GRANADA PLAZA - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  5. 4. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    4. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3686) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 GRANADA ENTRANCE, TAMIAMI TRAIL - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  6. 12. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    12. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3110) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 BALBOA PLAZA, DESOTO BOULVARD - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  7. 15. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    15. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3872) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 VIEW OF COUNTRY CLUB PRADO BOULEVARD - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  8. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-10-26

    ... Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY... Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral,...

  9. A coral-on-a-chip microfluidic platform enabling live-imaging microscopy of reef-building corals.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Orr H; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Gavish, Assaf R; Stocker, Roman; Vardi, Assaf

    2016-03-04

    Coral reefs, and the unique ecosystems they support, are facing severe threats by human activities and climate change. Our understanding of these threats is hampered by the lack of robust approaches for studying the micro-scale interactions between corals and their environment. Here we present an experimental platform, coral-on-a-chip, combining micropropagation and microfluidics to allow direct microscopic study of live coral polyps. The small and transparent coral micropropagates are ideally suited for live-imaging microscopy, while the microfluidic platform facilitates long-term visualization under controlled environmental conditions. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by imaging coral micropropagates at previously unattainable spatio-temporal resolutions, providing new insights into several micro-scale processes including coral calcification, coral-pathogen interaction and the loss of algal symbionts (coral bleaching). Coral-on-a-chip thus provides a powerful method for studying coral physiology in vivo at the micro-scale, opening new vistas in coral biology.

  10. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  11. Allometric growth in reef-building corals.

    PubMed

    Dornelas, Maria; Madin, Joshua S; Baird, Andrew H; Connolly, Sean R

    2017-03-29

    Predicting demographic rates is a critical part of forecasting the future of ecosystems under global change. Here, we test if growth rates can be predicted from morphological traits for a highly diverse group of colonial symbiotic organisms: scleractinian corals. We ask whether growth is isometric or allometric among corals, and whether most variation in coral growth rates occurs at the level of the species or morphological group. We estimate growth as change in planar area for 11 species, across five morphological groups and over 5 years. We show that coral growth rates are best predicted from colony size and morphology rather than species. Coral size follows a power scaling law with a constant exponent of 0.91. Despite being colonial organisms, corals have consistent allometric scaling in growth. This consistency simplifies the task of projecting community responses to disturbance and climate change.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC): Proposed Mechanisms for Coral Health and Resilience.

    PubMed

    Peixoto, Raquel S; Rosado, Phillipe M; Leite, Deborah Catharine de Assis; Rosado, Alexandre S; Bourne, David G

    2017-01-01

    The symbiotic association between the coral animal and its endosymbiotic dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is central to the success of corals. However, an array of other microorganisms associated with coral (i.e., Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi, and viruses) have a complex and intricate role in maintaining homeostasis between corals and Symbiodinium. Corals are sensitive to shifts in the surrounding environmental conditions. One of the most widely reported responses of coral to stressful environmental conditions is bleaching. During this event, corals expel Symbiodinium cells from their gastrodermal tissues upon experiencing extended seawater temperatures above their thermal threshold. An array of other environmental stressors can also destabilize the coral microbiome, resulting in compromised health of the host, which may include disease and mortality in the worst scenario. However, the exact mechanisms by which the coral microbiome supports coral health and increases resilience are poorly understood. Earlier studies of coral microbiology proposed a coral probiotic hypothesis, wherein a dynamic relationship exists between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms, selecting for the coral holobiont that is best suited for the prevailing environmental conditions. Here, we discuss the microbial-host relationships within the coral holobiont, along with their potential roles in maintaining coral health. We propose the term BMC (Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals) to define (specific) symbionts that promote coral health. This term and concept are analogous to the term Plant Growth Promoting Rhizosphere (PGPR), which has been widely explored and manipulated in the agricultural industry for microorganisms that inhabit the rhizosphere and directly or indirectly promote plant growth and development through the production of regulatory signals, antibiotics and nutrients. Additionally, we propose and discuss the potential mechanisms of the effects of BMC on corals, suggesting

  15. Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC): Proposed Mechanisms for Coral Health and Resilience

    PubMed Central

    Peixoto, Raquel S.; Rosado, Phillipe M.; Leite, Deborah Catharine de Assis; Rosado, Alexandre S.; Bourne, David G.

    2017-01-01

    The symbiotic association between the coral animal and its endosymbiotic dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is central to the success of corals. However, an array of other microorganisms associated with coral (i.e., Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi, and viruses) have a complex and intricate role in maintaining homeostasis between corals and Symbiodinium. Corals are sensitive to shifts in the surrounding environmental conditions. One of the most widely reported responses of coral to stressful environmental conditions is bleaching. During this event, corals expel Symbiodinium cells from their gastrodermal tissues upon experiencing extended seawater temperatures above their thermal threshold. An array of other environmental stressors can also destabilize the coral microbiome, resulting in compromised health of the host, which may include disease and mortality in the worst scenario. However, the exact mechanisms by which the coral microbiome supports coral health and increases resilience are poorly understood. Earlier studies of coral microbiology proposed a coral probiotic hypothesis, wherein a dynamic relationship exists between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms, selecting for the coral holobiont that is best suited for the prevailing environmental conditions. Here, we discuss the microbial-host relationships within the coral holobiont, along with their potential roles in maintaining coral health. We propose the term BMC (Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals) to define (specific) symbionts that promote coral health. This term and concept are analogous to the term Plant Growth Promoting Rhizosphere (PGPR), which has been widely explored and manipulated in the agricultural industry for microorganisms that inhabit the rhizosphere and directly or indirectly promote plant growth and development through the production of regulatory signals, antibiotics and nutrients. Additionally, we propose and discuss the potential mechanisms of the effects of BMC on corals, suggesting

  16. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties of Coral Environments

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1997-09-30

    remotely classify bottom types in varying water depths. APPROACH Transects over coral reef bottoms were laid out and mapped by divers and by the...team, two-ship expedition off Loggerhead Key in July, 1996. Both sites are coral reef environments within Fort Jefferson National Monument, Dry...in situ optical sensing. NOAA Coral Reef Workshop, September 16, 1996, Miami, FL. Invited. Costello, D.K., K.L. Carder and S.M. Smith. 1996

  17. Algae as reservoirs for coral pathogens.

    PubMed

    Sweet, Michael J; Bythell, John C; Nugues, Maggy M

    2013-01-01

    Benthic algae are associated with coral death in the form of stress and disease. It's been proposed that they release exudates, which facilitate invasion of potentially pathogenic microbes at the coral-algal interface, resulting in coral disease. However, the original source of these pathogens remains unknown. This study examined the ability of benthic algae to act as reservoirs of coral pathogens by characterizing surface associated microbes associated with major Caribbean and Indo-Pacific algal species/types and by comparing them to potential pathogens of two dominant coral diseases: White Syndrome (WS) in the Indo-Pacific and Yellow Band Disease (YBD) in the Caribbean. Coral and algal sampling was conducted simultaneously at the same sites to avoid spatial effects. Potential pathogens were defined as those absent or rare in healthy corals, increasing in abundance in healthy tissues adjacent to a disease lesion, and dominant in disease lesions. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were detected in both WS and YBD and were also present within the majority of algal species/types (54 and 100% for WS and YBD respectively). Pathogenic ciliates were associated only with WS and not YBD lesions and these were also present in 36% of the Indo-Pacific algal species. Although potential pathogens were associated with many algal species, their presence was inconsistent among replicate algal samples and detection rates were relatively low, suggestive of low density and occurrence. At the community level, coral-associated microbes irrespective of the health of their host differed from algal-associated microbes, supporting that algae and corals have distinctive microbial communities associated with their tissue. We conclude that benthic algae are common reservoirs for a variety of different potential coral pathogens. However, algal-associated microbes alone are unlikely to cause coral death. Initial damage or stress to the coral via other competitive mechanisms is most likely a

  18. 50 CFR 223.208 - Corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... Act 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. NOAA, NOS Coral Reef Conservation Act 16 U.S.C. 6406 Commandant, U.S. Coast...; Coral Reef RestorationFL Statute § 390.0558 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Fish and...: DNER Conservation; Protection, Conservation and Management of Coral Reefs12 L.P.R.A. §§ 241-241g et...

  19. 50 CFR 223.208 - Corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... Sanctuaries Act 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. NOAA, NOS Coral Reef Conservation Act 16 U.S.C. 6406 Commandant, U.S... Management; Coral Reef RestorationFL Statute § 390.0558 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Corals. 223.208 Section 223.208 Wildlife...

  20. 50 CFR 223.208 - Corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... Sanctuaries Act 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. NOAA, NOS Coral Reef Conservation Act 16 U.S.C. 6406 Commandant, U.S... Management; Coral Reef RestorationFL Statute § 390.0558 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Corals. 223.208 Section 223.208 Wildlife...

  1. Algae as Reservoirs for Coral Pathogens

    PubMed Central

    Sweet, Michael J.; Bythell, John C.; Nugues, Maggy M.

    2013-01-01

    Benthic algae are associated with coral death in the form of stress and disease. It's been proposed that they release exudates, which facilitate invasion of potentially pathogenic microbes at the coral-algal interface, resulting in coral disease. However, the original source of these pathogens remains unknown. This study examined the ability of benthic algae to act as reservoirs of coral pathogens by characterizing surface associated microbes associated with major Caribbean and Indo-Pacific algal species/types and by comparing them to potential pathogens of two dominant coral diseases: White Syndrome (WS) in the Indo-Pacific and Yellow Band Disease (YBD) in the Caribbean. Coral and algal sampling was conducted simultaneously at the same sites to avoid spatial effects. Potential pathogens were defined as those absent or rare in healthy corals, increasing in abundance in healthy tissues adjacent to a disease lesion, and dominant in disease lesions. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were detected in both WS and YBD and were also present within the majority of algal species/types (54 and 100% for WS and YBD respectively). Pathogenic ciliates were associated only with WS and not YBD lesions and these were also present in 36% of the Indo-Pacific algal species. Although potential pathogens were associated with many algal species, their presence was inconsistent among replicate algal samples and detection rates were relatively low, suggestive of low density and occurrence. At the community level, coral-associated microbes irrespective of the health of their host differed from algal-associated microbes, supporting that algae and corals have distinctive microbial communities associated with their tissue. We conclude that benthic algae are common reservoirs for a variety of different potential coral pathogens. However, algal-associated microbes alone are unlikely to cause coral death. Initial damage or stress to the coral via other competitive mechanisms is most likely a

  2. NOAA Lists 20 Coral Species as Threatened

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2014-09-01

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

  3. Mass spawning of corals on a high latitude coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babcock, R. C.; Wills, B. L.; Simpson, C. J.

    1994-07-01

    Evidence is presented that at least 60% of the 184 species of scleractinian corals found on reefs surrounding the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Western Australia) participate in a late summer mass spawning. These populations are thus reproductively active, despite most species being at the extreme southern limit of their latitudinal range (28° 29°S). In the present study, coral mass spawning occurred in the same month on both temperate (Houtman-Abrolhos) and tropical (Ningaloo) reefs of Western Australia, despite more than two months difference in the timing of seasonal temperture minima between the two regions. This concurrence in the month of spawning suggests that temperature does not operate as a simple direct proximate cue for seasonal spawning synchrony in these populations. Seasonal variation in photoperiod may provide a similar and more reliable signal in the two regions, and thus might be more likely to synchronize the seasonal reproductive rhythms of these corals. Also there is overlap in the nights of mass spawning on the Houtman Abrolhos and tropical reefs of Western Australia, despite significant differences in tidal phase and amplitude between the two regions. This indicates that tidal cycle does not synchronize with the night(s) of spawning on these reefs. Spawning is more likely to be synchronised by lunar cycles. The co-occurrence of the mass spawning with spring tides in Houtman Abrolhos coral populations may be evidence of a genetic legacy inherited from northern, tropical ancestors. Micro-tidal regimes in the Houtman Abrolhos region may have exerted insufficient selective pressure to counteract this legacy.

  4. Amorphous calcium carbonate particles form coral skeletons.

    PubMed

    Mass, Tali; Giuffre, Anthony J; Sun, Chang-Yu; Stifler, Cayla A; Frazier, Matthew J; Neder, Maayan; Tamura, Nobumichi; Stan, Camelia V; Marcus, Matthew A; Gilbert, Pupa U P A

    2017-08-28

    Do corals form their skeletons by precipitation from solution or by attachment of amorphous precursor particles as observed in other minerals and biominerals? The classical model assumes precipitation in contrast with observed "vital effects," that is, deviations from elemental and isotopic compositions at thermodynamic equilibrium. Here, we show direct spectromicroscopy evidence in Stylophora pistillata corals that two amorphous precursors exist, one hydrated and one anhydrous amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC); that these are formed in the tissue as 400-nm particles; and that they attach to the surface of coral skeletons, remain amorphous for hours, and finally, crystallize into aragonite (CaCO3). We show in both coral and synthetic aragonite spherulites that crystal growth by attachment of ACC particles is more than 100 times faster than ion-by-ion growth from solution. Fast growth provides a distinct physiological advantage to corals in the rigors of the reef, a crowded and fiercely competitive ecosystem. Corals are affected by warming-induced bleaching and postmortem dissolution, but the finding here that ACC particles are formed inside tissue may make coral skeleton formation less susceptible to ocean acidification than previously assumed. If this is how other corals form their skeletons, perhaps this is how a few corals survived past CO2 increases, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56 Mya.

  5. Heterotrophic plasticity and resilience in bleached corals.

    PubMed

    Grottoli, Andréa G; Rodrigues, Lisa J; Palardy, James E

    2006-04-27

    Mass coral bleaching events caused by elevated seawater temperatures have resulted in extensive coral mortality throughout the tropics over the past few decades. With continued global warming, bleaching events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, causing up to 60% coral mortality globally within the next few decades. Although some corals are able to recover and to survive bleaching, the mechanisms underlying such resilience are poorly understood. Here we show that the coral host has a significant role in recovery and resilience. Bleached and recovering Montipora capitata (branching) corals met more than 100% of their daily metabolic energy requirements by markedly increasing their feeding rates and CHAR (per cent contribution of heterotrophically acquired carbon to daily animal respiration), whereas Porites compressa (branching) and Porites lobata (mounding) corals did not. These findings suggest that coral species with high-CHAR capability during bleaching and recovery, irrespective of morphology, will be more resilient to bleaching events over the long term, could become the dominant coral species on reefs, and may help to safeguard affected reefs from potential local and global extinction.

  6. New tool to manage coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is making available a new tool for coral reef managers to monitor the cumulative thermal stress of several coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs by the Galapagos Islands, the agency announced on 25 February.The agency's "Degree Heating Weeks" product uses satellite-derived information to allow continuous monitoring of the extent and acuteness of thermal stress, which are key predictors of coral bleaching, and which contribute to coral reef degradation.

  7. Amorphous calcium carbonate particles form coral skeletons

    PubMed Central

    Mass, Tali; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Stifler, Cayla A.; Frazier, Matthew J.; Neder, Maayan; Tamura, Nobumichi; Stan, Camelia V.; Marcus, Matthew A.

    2017-01-01

    Do corals form their skeletons by precipitation from solution or by attachment of amorphous precursor particles as observed in other minerals and biominerals? The classical model assumes precipitation in contrast with observed “vital effects,” that is, deviations from elemental and isotopic compositions at thermodynamic equilibrium. Here, we show direct spectromicroscopy evidence in Stylophora pistillata corals that two amorphous precursors exist, one hydrated and one anhydrous amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC); that these are formed in the tissue as 400-nm particles; and that they attach to the surface of coral skeletons, remain amorphous for hours, and finally, crystallize into aragonite (CaCO3). We show in both coral and synthetic aragonite spherulites that crystal growth by attachment of ACC particles is more than 100 times faster than ion-by-ion growth from solution. Fast growth provides a distinct physiological advantage to corals in the rigors of the reef, a crowded and fiercely competitive ecosystem. Corals are affected by warming-induced bleaching and postmortem dissolution, but the finding here that ACC particles are formed inside tissue may make coral skeleton formation less susceptible to ocean acidification than previously assumed. If this is how other corals form their skeletons, perhaps this is how a few corals survived past CO2 increases, such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56 Mya. PMID:28847944

  8. The role of microorganisms in coral bleaching.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kushmaro, Ariel; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Banin, Ehud; Yossi, Loya

    2009-02-01

    Coral bleaching is the disruption of the symbiosis between the coral host and its endosymbiotic algae. The prevalence and severity of the disease have been correlated with high seawater temperature. During the last decade, the major hypothesis to explain coral bleaching is that high water temperatures cause irreversible damage to the symbiotic algae resulting in loss of pigment and/or algae from the holobiont. Here, we discuss the evidence for an alternative but not mutually exclusive concept, the microbial hypothesis of coral bleaching.

  9. Amorphous calcium carbonate particles form coral skeletons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mass, Tali; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Stifler, Cayla A.; Frazier, Matthew J.; Neder, Maayan; Tamura, Nobumichi; Stan, Camelia V.; Marcus, Matthew A.; Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.

    2017-09-01

    Do corals form their skeletons by precipitation from solution or by attachment of amorphous precursor particles as observed in other minerals and biominerals? The classical model assumes precipitation in contrast with observed “vital effects,” that is, deviations from elemental and isotopic compositions at thermodynamic equilibrium. Here, we show direct spectromicroscopy evidence in Stylophora pistillata corals that two amorphous precursors exist, one hydrated and one anhydrous amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC); that these are formed in the tissue as 400-nm particles; and that they attach to the surface of coral skeletons, remain amorphous for hours, and finally, crystallize into aragonite (CaCO3). We show in both coral and synthetic aragonite spherulites that crystal growth by attachment of ACC particles is more than 100 times faster than ion-by-ion growth from solution. Fast growth provides a distinct physiological advantage to corals in the rigors of the reef, a crowded and fiercely competitive ecosystem. Corals are affected by warming-induced bleaching and postmortem dissolution, but the finding here that ACC particles are formed inside tissue may make coral skeleton formation less susceptible to ocean acidification than previously assumed. If this is how other corals form their skeletons, perhaps this is how a few corals survived past CO2 increases, such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56 Mya.

  10. Population control in symbiotic corals

    SciTech Connect

    Falkowski, P.G. ); Dubinsky, Z. ); Muscatine, L. ); McCloskey, L. )

    1993-10-01

    Stability in symbiotic association requires control of population growth between symbionts. The population density of zooxanthellae per unit surface area of most symbiotic corals is remarkably consistant. How is the population density of zooxanthellae maintained and what happens to the symbiotic association if the balance between algae and host is perturbed. The answers to these question, examined in this paper, provide a framework for understanding how the size of the component populations is controlled in symbiotic associations. The topic areas covered include the following: carbon economy in a symbiotic coral; effects of nutrient enrichment; the chemostat model of population control; the effects of exposure to ammonium levels. Ammonium ions and organic materials are the factors which maintain the density of zooxanthellae. 32 refs., 5 figs.

  11. Identification of Candidate Coral Pathogens on White Band Disease-Infected Staghorn Coral.

    PubMed

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Sarah A; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial diseases affecting scleractinian corals pose an enormous threat to the health of coral reefs, yet we still have a limited understanding of the bacteria associated with coral diseases. White band disease is a bacterial disease that affects the two Caribbean acroporid corals, the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmate. Species of Vibrio and Rickettsia have both been identified as putative WBD pathogens. Here we used Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing to profile the bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased A. cervicornis collected from four field sites during two different years. We also exposed corals in tanks to diseased and healthy (control) homogenates to reduce some of the natural variation of field-collected coral bacterial communities. Using a combination of multivariate analyses, we identified community-level changes between diseased and healthy corals in both the field-collected and tank-exposed datasets. We then identified changes in the abundances of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between diseased and healthy corals. By comparing the diseased and healthy-associated bacteria in field-collected and tank-exposed corals, we were able to identify 16 healthy-associated OTUs and 106 consistently disease-associated OTUs, which are good candidates for putative WBD pathogens. A large percentage of these disease-associated OTUs belonged to the order Flavobacteriales. In addition, two of the putative pathogens identified here belong to orders previously suggested as WBD pathogens: Vibronales and Rickettsiales.

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

    PubMed

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

    Turf algae are becoming more abundant on coral reefs worldwide, but their effects on other benthic organisms remain poorly described. To describe the general characteristics of competitive interactions between corals and turf algae, we determined the occurrence and outcomes of coral-turf algal interactions among different coral growth forms (branching, upright, massive, encrusting, plating, and solitary) on a shallow reef in Vietnam. In total, the amount of turf algal interaction, i.e., the proportion of the coral boundary directly bordering turf algae, was quantified for 1,276 coral colonies belonging to 27 genera and the putative outcome of each interaction was noted. The amount of turf algal interaction and the outcome of these interactions differed predictably among the six growth forms. Encrusting corals interacted most often with turf algae, but also competed most successfully against turf algae. The opposite was observed for branching corals, which rarely interacted with turf algae and rarely won these competitive interactions. Including all other growth forms, a positive relationship was found between the amount of competitive interactions with neighboring turf algae and the percentage of such interaction won by the coral. This growth form dependent ability to outcompete turf algae was not only observed among coral species, but also among different growth forms in morphologically plastic coral genera (Acropora, Favia, Favites, Montastrea, Montipora, Porites) illustrating the general nature of this relationship.

  13. Identification of Candidate Coral Pathogens on White Band Disease-Infected Staghorn Coral

    PubMed Central

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Sarah A.; Vollmer, Steven V.

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial diseases affecting scleractinian corals pose an enormous threat to the health of coral reefs, yet we still have a limited understanding of the bacteria associated with coral diseases. White band disease is a bacterial disease that affects the two Caribbean acroporid corals, the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and the elkhorn coral A. palmate. Species of Vibrio and Rickettsia have both been identified as putative WBD pathogens. Here we used Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing to profile the bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased A. cervicornis collected from four field sites during two different years. We also exposed corals in tanks to diseased and healthy (control) homogenates to reduce some of the natural variation of field-collected coral bacterial communities. Using a combination of multivariate analyses, we identified community-level changes between diseased and healthy corals in both the field-collected and tank-exposed datasets. We then identified changes in the abundances of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between diseased and healthy corals. By comparing the diseased and healthy-associated bacteria in field-collected and tank-exposed corals, we were able to identify 16 healthy-associated OTUs and 106 consistently disease-associated OTUs, which are good candidates for putative WBD pathogens. A large percentage of these disease-associated OTUs belonged to the order Flavobacteriales. In addition, two of the putative pathogens identified here belong to orders previously suggested as WBD pathogens: Vibronales and Rickettsiales. PMID:26241853

  14. Tumor formations in scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1984-03-01

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

  15. Spectral classifying base on color of live corals and dead corals covered with algae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Barille, Laurent; Akbar, A. S. M.; Sawayama, Shuhei; Fitrah, Muh. Nur; Prasyad, Hermansyah

    2016-05-01

    Pigments in the host tissues of corals can make a significant contribution to their spectral signature and can affect their apparent color as perceived by a human observer. The aim of this study is classifying the spectral reflectance of corals base on different color. It is expected that they can be used as references in discriminating between live corals, dead coral covered with algae Spectral reflectance data was collected in three small islands, Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia by using a hyperspectral radiometer underwater. First and second derivative analysis resolved the wavelength locations of dominant features contributing to reflectance in corals and support the distinct differences in spectra among colour existed. Spectral derivative analysis was used to determine the specific wavelength regions ideal for remote identification of substrate type. The analysis results shown that yellow, green, brown and violet live corals are spectrally separable from each other, but they are similar with dead coral covered with algae spectral.

  16. Coral barium incorporation: implications for proxy applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonneea, M. E.; Cohen, A. L.; Charette, M. A.

    2012-12-01

    Coral Ba/Ca ratios have been proposed as proxies for various environmental variables including sediment loading, upwelling and groundwater input. Two assumptions that underpin the application of Ba/Ca ratios as an environmental proxy is 2) that corals take up Ba/Ca in concentrations proportional to seawater concentrations and 1) that the specified forcing mechanism influences seawater [Ba]. Here we present data from laboratory experiments that demonstrates corals reared in a range of seawater [Ba] linearly incorporate this signature in their skeletal Ba/Ca ratios. Observed coral Ba/Ca perturbations above baseline typically range from 5-15 μmol/mol which is ~100-500% increase over baseline. Other factors known to influence coral Ba/Ca include the temperature dependence on the partition coefficient and mass fraction aragonite precipitated by the coral which may be linked to calcification rate. In our experiments, calcification rate increased with temperature, thus the observed coral partition coefficient is the net effect of temperature (Ba/Ca increase at lower temperature) and calcification rate (Ba/Ca increase at higher temperature). We observed that the partition coefficient for reared coral Ba/Ca increased 20% 27.7 to 22.5 C, much less than observed Ba/Ca perturbations. Thus we predict that seawater [Ba] drives coral Ba/Ca signals in many locations. We present a model framework to calculate the expected contribution from sediment input, upwelling and groundwater discharge that is needed to produce this signature in corals growing in receiving waters. Finally we apply this model to a coral record from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, recording groundwater discharge to the coastal ocean.

  17. Delayed coral recovery in a warming ocean.

    PubMed

    Osborne, Kate; Thompson, Angus A; Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael J; Johns, Kerryn A; Jonker, Michelle J; Logan, Murray; Miller, Ian R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2017-09-01

    Climate change threatens coral reefs across the world. Intense bleaching has caused dramatic coral mortality in many tropical regions in recent decades, but less obvious chronic effects of temperature and other stressors can be equally threatening to the long-term persistence of diverse coral-dominated reef systems. Coral reefs persist if coral recovery rates equal or exceed average rates of mortality. While mortality from acute destructive events is often obvious and easy to measure, estimating recovery rates and investigating the factors that influence them requires long-term commitment. Coastal development is increasing in many regions, and sea surface temperatures are also rising. The resulting chronic stresses have predictable, adverse effects on coral recovery, but the lack of consistent long-term data sets has prevented measurement of how much coral recovery rates are actually changing. Using long-term monitoring data from 47 reefs spread over 10 degrees of latitude on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), we used a modified Gompertz equation to estimate coral recovery rates following disturbance. We compared coral recovery rates in two periods: 7 years before and 7 years after an acute and widespread heat stress event on the GBR in 2002. From 2003 to 2009, there were few acute disturbances in the region, allowing us to attribute the observed shortfall in coral recovery rates to residual effects of acute heat stress plus other chronic stressors. Compared with the period before 2002, the recovery of fast-growing Acroporidae and of "Other" slower growing hard corals slowed after 2002, doubling the time taken for modest levels of recovery. If this persists, recovery times will be increasing at a time when acute disturbances are predicted to become more frequent and intense. Our study supports the need for management actions to protect reefs from locally generated stresses, as well as urgent global action to mitigate climate change. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons

  18. Diversity and Evolution of Coral Fluorescent Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Alieva, Naila O.; Konzen, Karen A.; Field, Steven F.; Meleshkevitch, Ella A.; Hunt, Marguerite E.; Beltran-Ramirez, Victor; Miller, David J.; Wiedenmann, Jörg; Salih, Anya; Matz, Mikhail V.

    2008-01-01

    GFP-like fluorescent proteins (FPs) are the key color determinants in reef-building corals (class Anthozoa, order Scleractinia) and are of considerable interest as potential genetically encoded fluorescent labels. Here we report 40 additional members of the GFP family from corals. There are three major paralogous lineages of coral FPs. One of them is retained in all sampled coral families and is responsible for the non-fluorescent purple-blue color, while each of the other two evolved a full complement of typical coral fluorescent colors (cyan, green, and red) and underwent sorting between coral groups. Among the newly cloned proteins are a “chromo-red” color type from Echinopora forskaliana (family Faviidae) and pink chromoprotein from Stylophora pistillata (Pocilloporidae), both evolving independently from the rest of coral chromoproteins. There are several cyan FPs that possess a novel kind of excitation spectrum indicating a neutral chromophore ground state, for which the residue E167 is responsible (numeration according to GFP from A. victoria). The chromoprotein from Acropora millepora is an unusual blue instead of purple, which is due to two mutations: S64C and S183T. We applied a novel probabilistic sampling approach to recreate the common ancestor of all coral FPs as well as the more derived common ancestor of three main fluorescent colors of the Faviina suborder. Both proteins were green such as found elsewhere outside class Anthozoa. Interestingly, a substantial fraction of the all-coral ancestral protein had a chromohore apparently locked in a non-fluorescent neutral state, which may reflect the transitional stage that enabled rapid color diversification early in the history of coral FPs. Our results highlight the extent of convergent or parallel evolution of the color diversity in corals, provide the foundation for experimental studies of evolutionary processes that led to color diversification, and enable a comparative analysis of structural

  19. Habitat choice, recruitment and the response of coral reef fishes to coral degradation.

    PubMed

    Feary, David A; Almany, Glenn R; McCormick, Mark I; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2007-09-01

    The global degradation of coral reefs is having profound effects on the structure and species richness of associated reef fish assemblages. Historically, variation in the composition of fish communities has largely been attributed to factors affecting settlement of reef fish larvae. However, the mechanisms that determine how fish settlers respond to different stages of coral stress and the extent of coral loss on fish settlement are poorly understood. Here, we examined the effects of habitat degradation on fish settlement using a two-stage experimental approach. First, we employed laboratory choice experiments to test how settlers responded to early and terminal stages of coral degradation. We then quantified the settlement response of the whole reef fish assemblage in a field perturbation experiment. The laboratory choice experiments tested how juveniles from nine common Indo-Pacific fishes chose among live colonies, partially degraded colonies, and dead colonies with recent algal growth. Many species did not distinguish between live and partially degraded colonies, suggesting settlement patterns are resilient to the early stages of declining coral health. Several species preferred live or degraded corals, and none preferred to associate with dead, algal-covered colonies. In the field experiment, fish recruitment to coral colonies was monitored before and after the introduction of a coral predator (the crown-of-thorns starfish) and compared with undisturbed control colonies. Starfish reduced live coral cover by 95-100%, causing persistent negative effects on the recruitment of coral-associated fishes. Rapid reductions in new recruit abundance, greater numbers of unoccupied colonies and a shift in the recruit community structure from one dominated by coral-associated fishes before degradation to one predominantly composed of algal-associated fish species were observed. Our results suggest that while resistant to coral stress, coral death alters the process of

  20. Coral Reef Remote Sensing Database and Monitoring of Coral Reefs by ASTER

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kayanne, H.; Matsunaga, T.; Kanbara, H.; Kato, M.

    2001-05-01

    Coral reefs in the world are under the crisis of degradation both by increasing human activities in coastal zone and by the global changes. All the factors of the global change scenario would bring serious impact on coral reefs. Increase in CO2 suppress calcification in coral reefs. The world-wide bleaching event in 1997-1998 was supposed to be at least partly resulted from global warming. Coral reefs would submerge by sea level rise in this century. To conserve and manage coral reefs against these threats, monitoring of coral reef by satellite remote sensing is important. ASTER has provided effective data for mapping coral reef landforms and benthic communities. The most basic geomorphological and ecological zonation was successfully classified using ASTER data. For example, coral reef flat with its zonation of algai rim, rubble bank, back reef was clearly identified by ASTER by decision tree method and bottom index using VNIR bands data. For the basis of effective monitoring of coral reefs, we have constructed coral reef remote sensing database, which contains more than 1,100,000 data. Tropical and subtropical oceans (40N-40S) were gridded by 0.5 x 0.5 degrees and the grids with coral reefs were identified. The grids with coral reefs correspond to path/rows of the satellite (MOS1, JERS-1, ADEOS, LANDSAT, SPOT and TERRA) and basic information (existence of data, satellite and sensor, path/row, lat/log, aquisition date, cloud cover, type of coral reef) of so-far obtained satellite data until 2000 was input in the database. Status of data aquisition at specific coral reefs can be listed up by this database.

  1. PhyloChip Tackles Coral Disease

    ScienceCinema

    DeSantis, Todd

    2016-07-12

    Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Merced are using an innovative DNA array developed at Berkeley Lab to catalog the microbes that live among coral in the tropical waters off the coast of Puerto Rico. More info: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2009/02/02/coral-reefs/

  2. Corals as bioindicators of climate change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shinn, Eugene A.

    2008-01-01

    Potential effects of climate change and ocean acidification have energized much discussion among coral scientists, especially biologists. Will corals go extinct, lose their skeletons, or migrate pole-ward to cooler waters? No one knows, but some simple experiments, recent observations, and recent studies may shed some light on these questions. Above all they show the need for collaboration among biologists and geologists.

  3. Fluorescent pigments in corals are photoprotective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salih, Anya; Larkum, Anthony; Cox, Guy; Kühl, Michael; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2000-12-01

    All reef-forming corals depend on the photosynthesis performed by their algal symbiont, and such corals are therefore restricted to the photic zone. The intensity of light in this zone declines over several orders of magnitude-from high and damaging levels at the surface to extreme shade conditions at the lower limit. The ability of corals to tolerate this range implies effective mechanisms for light acclimation and adaptation. Here we show that the fluorescent pigments (FPs) of corals provide a photobiological system for regulating the light environment of coral host tissue. Previous studies have suggested that under low light, FPs may enhance light availability. We now report that in excessive sunlight FPs are photoprotective; they achieve this by dissipating excess energy at wavelengths of low photosynthetic activity, as well as by reflecting of visible and infrared light by FP-containing chromatophores. We also show that FPs enhance the resistance to mass bleaching of corals during periods of heat stress, which has implications for the effect of environmental stress on the diversity of reef-building corals, such as enhanced survival of a broad range of corals allowing maintenance of habitat diversity.

  4. Forensic analysis of black coral (Order Antipatharia).

    PubMed

    Espinoza, Edgard O; Scanlan, Michael D; McClure, Pamela J; Baker, Barry W

    2012-03-10

    Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), discriminate analysis, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), and stereoscopic microscopy were used to separate black coral forensic evidence items from similarly appearing items manufactured from plastics, bovid keratin, and mangrove wood. In addition, novel observations were made of bromine and iodine relationships in black coral that have not been previously reported.

  5. PhyloChip Tackles Coral Disease

    SciTech Connect

    DeSantis, Todd

    2009-01-01

    Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Merced are using an innovative DNA array developed at Berkeley Lab to catalog the microbes that live among coral in the tropical waters off the coast of Puerto Rico. More info: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2009/02/02/coral-reefs/

  6. Microbial disease and the coral holobiont

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bourne, David G.; Garren, Melissa; Work, Thierry M.; Rosenberg, Eugene; Smith, Garriet W.; Harvell, C. Drew

    2009-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs harbour a reservoir of enormous biodiversity that is increasingly threatened by direct human activities and indirect global climate shifts. Emerging coral diseases are one serious threat implicated in extensive reef deterioration through disruption of the integrity of the coral holobiont – a complex symbiosis between the coral animal, endobiotic alga and an array of microorganisms. In this article, we review our current understanding of the role of microorganisms in coral health and disease, and highlight the pressing interdisciplinary research priorities required to elucidate the mechanisms of disease. We advocate an approach that applies knowledge gained from experiences in human and veterinary medicine, integrated into multidisciplinary studies that investigate the interactions between host, agent and environment of a given coral disease. These approaches include robust and precise disease diagnosis, standardised ecological methods and application of rapidly developing DNA, RNA and protein technologies, alongside established histological, microbial ecology and ecological expertise. Such approaches will allow a better understanding of the causes of coral mortality and coral reef declines and help assess potential management options to mitigate their effects in the longer term.

  7. Polyp oriented modelling of coral growth.

    PubMed

    Merks, Roeland M H; Hoekstra, Alfons G; Kaandorp, Jaap A; Sloot, Peter M A

    2004-06-21

    The morphogenesis of colonial stony corals is the result of the collective behaviour of many coral polyps depositing coral skeleton on top of the old skeleton on which they live. Yet, models of coral growth often consider the polyps as a single continuous surface. In the present work, the polyps are modelled individually. Each polyp takes up resources, deposits skeleton, buds off new polyps and dies. In this polyp oriented model, spontaneous branching occurs. We argue that branching is caused by a so called "polyp fanning effect" by which polyps on a convex surface have a competitive advantage relative to polyps on a flat or concave surface. The fanning effect generates a more potent branching mechanism than the Laplacian growth mechanism that we have studied previously. We discuss the application of the polyp oriented model to the study of environmentally driven morphological plasticity in stony corals. In a few examples we show how the properties of the individual polyps influence the whole colony morphology. In our model, the spacing of polyps influences the thickness of coral branches and the overall compactness of the colony. Density variations in the coral skeleton may also be important for the whole colony morphology, which we address by studying two variants of the model. Finally, we discuss the importance of small scale resource translocation in the coral colony and its effects on the morphology of the colony.

  8. A Chemical Approach to Mitigate Coral Bleaching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marty-Rivera, M.; Yudowski, G.

    2016-02-01

    Changes in sea surface temperature and irradiance can induce bleaching and increase mortality in corals. Coral bleaching occurs when symbiotic algae living inside the coral is degraded or expelled, reducing the availability of energetic resources. Oxidative stress has been suggested as a possible molecular mechanism triggering bleaching. We hypothesized that reduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during stress could mitigate or prevent coral bleaching. We utilized the coral Porites Astreoides as our model to test the effects of two natural antioxidants, catechin and Resveratrol, on thermally induced bleaching. Coral fragments were exposed to four treatments: high temperature (32°C), high temperature plus antioxidants (1μM), ambient temperature (25°C), or ambient temperature (25°C) plus antioxidant for four days. A total of 8 corals were used per treatment. We measured several photobiological parameters, such as maximum quantum yield and light curves to assess the viability of symbiodinium spp. after thermal stress in the presence of antioxidants. Preliminary experiments on a model species, the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida and corals, showed that exposure to antioxidants reduced intracellular levels of ROS. Additionally, antioxidant-treated anemones showed higher photosynthetic efficiency (67%) than those exposed to high-temperature alone.

  9. CORAL REEF RESPONSES TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increased emissions of greenhouse gases and synthetic compounds are related to rising sea temperatures and increased penetration of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), two factors that are consistently linked to bleaching and disease of corals. Coral reefs play a major role in the envir...

  10. CORAL REEF BIOLOGICAL CRITERIA: USING THE CLEAN ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Coral reefs are declining at unprecedented rates worldwide due to multiple interactive stressors including climate change and land-based sources of pollution. The Clean Water Act (CWA) can be a powerful legal instrument for protecting water resources, including the biological inhabitants of coral reefs. The objective of the CWA is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of water resources. Coral reef protection and restoration under the Clean Water Act begins with water quality standards - provisions of state or Federal law that consist of a designated use(s) for the waters of the United States and water quality criteria sufficient to protect the uses. Aquatic life use is the designated use that is measured by biological criteria (biocriteria). Biocriteria are expectations set by a jurisdiction for the quality and quantity of living aquatic resources in a defined waterbody. Biocriteria are an important addition to existing management tools for coral reef ecosystems. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework to aid States and Territories in their development, adoption, and implementation of coral reef biocriteria in their respective water quality standards. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework for coral re

  11. Metagenomic analysis of stressed coral holobionts.

    PubMed

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca; Willner-Hall, Dana; Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran; Desnues, Christelle; Edwards, Robert A; Angly, Florent; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Kelly, Linda; Rohwer, Forest

    2009-08-01

    The coral holobiont is the community of metazoans, protists and microbes associated with scleractinian corals. Disruptions in these associations have been correlated with coral disease, but little is known about the series of events involved in the shift from mutualism to pathogenesis. To evaluate structural and functional changes in coral microbial communities, Porites compressa was exposed to four stressors: increased temperature, elevated nutrients, dissolved organic carbon loading and reduced pH. Microbial metagenomic samples were collected and pyrosequenced. Functional gene analysis demonstrated that stressors increased the abundance of microbial genes involved in virulence, stress resistance, sulfur and nitrogen metabolism, motility and chemotaxis, fatty acid and lipid utilization, and secondary metabolism. Relative changes in taxonomy also demonstrated that coral-associated microbiota (Archaea, Bacteria, protists) shifted from a healthy-associated coral community (e.g. Cyanobacteria, Proteobacteria and the zooxanthellae Symbiodinium) to a community (e.g. Bacteriodetes, Fusobacteria and Fungi) of microbes often found on diseased corals. Additionally, low-abundance Vibrio spp. were found to significantly alter microbiome metabolism, suggesting that the contribution of a just a few members of a community can profoundly shift the health status of the coral holobiont.

  12. CORAL REEF RESPONSES TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increased emissions of greenhouse gases and synthetic compounds are related to rising sea temperatures and increased penetration of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), two factors that are consistently linked to bleaching and disease of corals. Coral reefs play a major role in the envir...

  13. 13. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    13. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3327) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 LE JEUNE PLAZA, VIEW FROM CORAL WAY - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  14. 5. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    5. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3292) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 AERIAL VIEW OF CORAL GABLES BUSINESS SECTION - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  15. 11. Photocopy of Photograph (original Print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    11. Photocopy of Photograph (original Print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3809) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 PONCE DE LEON PLAZA, FROM CORAL WAY AND GRANADA BOULEVARD - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  16. Ecology of the south Florida coral reefs: a community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Jaap, W.C.

    1984-08-01

    An overview of coral reef research in southern Florida is provided as a prelude to a genuine description of the coral reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys and surrounding environments. Coral reef community types, reef benthos, plankton and reef fish are given specific treatment. Coral reef ecology and management are described. 27 figs., 31 tabs.

  17. Coral aquaculture to support drug discovery.

    PubMed

    Leal, Miguel C; Calado, Ricardo; Sheridan, Christopher; Alimonti, Andrea; Osinga, Ronald

    2013-10-01

    Marine natural products (NP) are unanimously acknowledged as the 'blue gold' in the urgent quest for new pharmaceuticals. Although corals are among the marine organisms with the greatest diversity of secondary metabolites, growing evidence suggest that their symbiotic bacteria produce most of these bioactive metabolites. The ex hospite culture of coral symbiotic microbiota is extremely challenging and only limited examples of successful culture exist today. By contrast, in toto aquaculture of corals is a commonly applied technology to produce corals for aquaria. Here, we suggest that coral aquaculture could as well be a viable and economically feasible option to produce the biomass required to execute the first steps of the NP-based drug discovery pipeline.

  18. Symposium participants assess future of coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleypas, Joan; Opdyke, Bradley

    Coral reef ecosystems are often labeled as “robust,” able to survive disturbance, or “resilient,” able to recover after a disturbance, in terms of their ability to adapt or acclimatize to global change. Those labels are now fading in light of findings of a symposium and workshop to readdress the question, How will coral reefs fare under the increasing stresses associated with global change? In fact, coral reef ecosystems appear to be directly threatened by globally increasing atmospheric CO2. By altering sea surface chemistry, specifically by lowering the carbonate ion activity, rising CO2 levels will most certainly reduce calcification rates of the major reef-building organisms individually, and coral reef communities overall. A reduction in coral reef carbonate production could have profound ecological effects on these marine ecosystems and organisms associated with them.

  19. A microsampling method for genotyping coral symbionts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-06-01

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

  20. Characterizing Magnetic Properties in Belize Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urbalejo, A. A.; Bhattacharya, A.; Gee, J. S.; Mitra, R.; Carilli, J.; Hangsterfer, A.; Feinberg, J. M.

    2016-12-01

    Measurements of magnetic remanence and characterization of magnetic phases are widely applied to environmental and climate studies; however, magnetic tools have not been widely applied to coral studies. As such, there is a deficit in our understanding of magnetic materials and behavior in coral skeletons and consequently, of processes by which magnetic materials may get incorporated into coral skeletons. In this study, we present magnetic measurements conducted on freshly broken chips from coral cores; the cores were collected from Mesoamerican sites in Belize. Trace, minor, and major element concentration has been well studied in these two coral cores, using inductively coupled mass spectrometric techniques (ICP-MS). The goal of our current research is to determine are as follows: (a) Is there is a viable magnetic signal that can be obtained from measuring chips broken off of coral skeletons? (b) What are some of the dominant magnetic behaviors? (c) What are the carrier phases of magnetic material? (c) can we determine possible variations in the type and quantity of magnetic materials over time and ultimately, (e) can magnetic fingerprinting of corals can be used as tracers of environmental, climate or biological processes? Here, we present preliminary magnetic remanence measurements (IRM and double IRM) from the two coral cores collected from Belize and dating back to the mid 1800s. Early results using freshly broken chips from both coral cores indicate a magnetite-like soft magnetic component during IRM experiments. Double-IRM experiments on the same samples indicate uniaxial single domain behavior. Furthermore, SEM images suggest that the magnetic carrier phase could likely be magnetite. We will also present comparisons of our magnetic data with newly collected X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) data on the same coral cores. The goal is to properly characterize the type of magnetic signals and determine possible environmental and/or biological impacts on magnetic carrier

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

    PubMed Central

    Vermeij, Mark JA

    2016-01-01

    Turf algae are becoming more abundant on coral reefs worldwide, but their effects on other benthic organisms remain poorly described. To describe the general characteristics of competitive interactions between corals and turf algae, we determined the occurrence and outcomes of coral–turf algal interactions among different coral growth forms (branching, upright, massive, encrusting, plating, and solitary) on a shallow reef in Vietnam. In total, the amount of turf algal interaction, i.e., the proportion of the coral boundary directly bordering turf algae, was quantified for 1,276 coral colonies belonging to 27 genera and the putative outcome of each interaction was noted. The amount of turf algal interaction and the outcome of these interactions differed predictably among the six growth forms. Encrusting corals interacted most often with turf algae, but also competed most successfully against turf algae. The opposite was observed for branching corals, which rarely interacted with turf algae and rarely won these competitive interactions. Including all other growth forms, a positive relationship was found between the amount of competitive interactions with neighboring turf algae and the percentage of such interaction won by the coral. This growth form dependent ability to outcompete turf algae was not only observed among coral species, but also among different growth forms in morphologically plastic coral genera (Acropora, Favia, Favites, Montastrea, Montipora, Porites) illustrating the general nature of this relationship. PMID:27190707

  2. Micro-topography mediates interactions between corals, algae, and herbivorous fishes on coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandl, S. J.; Hoey, A. S.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2014-06-01

    Processes occurring during the early life stages of corals are important for the replenishment of coral assemblages and the resilience of coral reefs. However, the factors influencing early life stages of corals are not well understood, and the role of micro-topographic complexity for habitat associations of juvenile corals is largely unexplored. This study investigated the microhabitat distribution patterns of early life stages of corals and a potential macroalgal competitor ( Turbinaria ornata) across two reef zones (reef crest and outer reef flat) on Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. In both reef zones, both corals and T. ornata were significantly more abundant in concealed microhabitats than in semi-concealed or open microhabitats (GLMM: P < 0.001). The prevalence of juvenile corals and T. ornata within concealed environments suggests that they might be effective refuges from grazing by herbivorous fishes. The density of juvenile corals was positively related, and density of T. ornata negatively related to the abundance of two groups of herbivorous fishes, pairing rabbitfishes, and surgeonfishes in the genus Zebrasoma (BEST ENV-BIO: r s = 0.72, P < 0.01), which feed in concealed microhabitats. This correlative evidence suggests that crevices may be important for early life stages of both coral and macroalgae, and that a specific suite of crevice-feeding fishes may influence benthic community dynamics in these microhabitats.

  3. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.

    2016-06-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes ( Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reefs: present-day reefs that are vulnerable to climate-induced coral bleaching, and reefs with more bleaching-robust coral taxa, thereby simulating the likely future of coral reefs under a warming climate. Fish communities were allowed to establish naturally on the reefs during the summer recruitment period. Climate-robust reefs had lower total species richness of coral-reef fishes than climate-vulnerable reefs, but total fish abundance was not significantly different between reef types (pooled across all species and life-history stages). The nature of aggressive interactions, measured as the number of aggressive chases, varied according to coral composition; on climate-robust reefs, juveniles used the substratum less often to avoid aggression from competitors, and interspecific aggression became relatively more frequent than intraspecific aggression for juveniles of the coral-obligate P. moluccensis. This study highlights the importance of coral composition as a determinant of behaviour and diversity of coral-reef fishes.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  5. Big Data Approaches To Coral-Microbe Symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaneveld, J.; Pollock, F. J.; McMinds, R.; Smith, S.; Payet, J.; Hanna, B.; Welsh, R.; Foster, A.; Ohdera, A.; Shantz, A. A.; Burkepile, D. E.; Maynard, J. A.; Medina, M.; Vega Thurber, R.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs face increasing challenges worldwide, threatened by overfishing and nutrient pollution, which drive growth of algal competitors of corals, and periods of extreme temperature, which drive mass coral bleaching. I will discuss two projects that examine how coral's complex relationships with microorganisms affect the response of coral colonies and coral species to environmental challenge. Microbiological studies have documented key roles for coral's microbial symbionts in energy harvest and defense against pathogens. However, the evolutionary history of corals and their microbes is little studied. As part of the Global Coral Microbiome Project, we are characterizing bacterial, archaeal, fungal, and Symbiodinium diversity across >1400 DNA samples from all major groups of corals, collected from 15 locations worldwide. This collection will allow us to ask how coral- microbe associations evolved over evolutionary time, and to determine whether microbial symbiosis helps predict the relative vulnerability of certain coral species to environmental stress. In the second project, we experimentally characterized how the long-term effects of human impacts such as overfishing and nutrient pollution influence coral-microbe symbiosis. We conducted a three-year field experiment in the Florida Keys applying nutrient pollution or simulated overfishing to reef plots, and traced the effects on reef communities, coral microbiomes, and coral health. The results show that extremes of temperature and algal competition destabilize coral microbiomes, increasing pathogen blooms, coral disease, and coral death. Surprisingly, these local stressors interacted strongly with thermal stress: the greatest microbiome disruption, and >80% of coral mortality happened in the hottest periods. Thus, overfishing and nutrient pollution may interact with increased climate-driven episodes of sub-bleaching thermal stress to increase coral mortality by disrupt reef communities down to microbial scales.

  6. Macroalgal terpenes function as allelopathic agents against reef corals.

    PubMed

    Rasher, Douglas B; Stout, E Paige; Engel, Sebastian; Kubanek, Julia; Hay, Mark E

    2011-10-25

    During recent decades, many tropical reefs have transitioned from coral to macroalgal dominance. These community shifts increase the frequency of algal-coral interactions and may suppress coral recovery following both anthropogenic and natural disturbance. However, the extent to which macroalgae damage corals directly, the mechanisms involved, and the species specificity of algal-coral interactions remain uncertain. Here, we conducted field experiments demonstrating that numerous macroalgae directly damage corals by transfer of hydrophobic allelochemicals present on algal surfaces. These hydrophobic compounds caused bleaching, decreased photosynthesis, and occasionally death of corals in 79% of the 24 interactions assayed (three corals and eight algae). Coral damage generally was limited to sites of algal contact, but algae were unaffected by contact with corals. Artificial mimics for shading and abrasion produced no impact on corals, and effects of hydrophobic surface extracts from macroalgae paralleled effects of whole algae; both findings suggest that local effects are generated by allelochemical rather than physical mechanisms. Rankings of macroalgae from most to least allelopathic were similar across the three coral genera tested. However, corals varied markedly in susceptibility to allelopathic algae, with globally declining corals such as Acropora more strongly affected. Bioassay-guided fractionation of extracts from two allelopathic algae led to identification of two loliolide derivatives from the red alga Galaxaura filamentosa and two acetylated diterpenes from the green alga Chlorodesmis fastigiata as potent allelochemicals. Our results highlight a newly demonstrated but potentially widespread competitive mechanism to help explain the lack of coral recovery on many present-day reefs.

  7. Carbonate mound evolution and coral diagenesis viewed by U-series dating of deep water corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, N.; Ricard, E.; Blamart, D.; van der Land, C.; Colin, C.; Foubert, A.; van Rooij, D.; van Weering, T.

    2007-12-01

    U-series dating of constructional deep sea corals is a powerful tool to reconstruct the evolution of carbonate mound sediments driven by coral growth, sediment trapping and diagenesis. Here we have investigated in great detail the time framework of constructional corals such as L. pertusa and M. oculata on 5 different mounds of the eastern North Atlantic (on Rockall Bank and in Porcupine Seabight) taken at variable depth and location (610 to 880m water depth). Periods favorable for coral growth are the Holocene and prior interglacials such as marine isotope stage 5 and 7, while glacial coral growth seems inhibited or extremely reduced. Coral development is almost continuous throughout the Holocene since mound re-colonization about 10,500 years ago. Mound accumulation rates vary between 20 and 220 cm/kyr determined from the coral age - depth relationship in each core. Those changes are most likely driven by changes between horizontal and vertical mound accumulation, food supply and ocean circulation. In addition, coral dating allowed to identify an important erosional event recorded in core MD01-2455G from Rockall Bank. Here a 1m thick sediment layer containing ancient corals likely from the start of Holocene re-colonization was displaced (collapsed) from further upslope on top of younger corals of ~2500 to 3000 years age. Prior to the initiation of coral growth diagenesis occurred frequently resulting in (1) the construction of so called carbonate hardgrounds and/or (2) the dissolution of the pre-Holocene coral framework. Solely, the deepest selected core in Porcupine Seabight (MD01-2463G at 880m depth) reveals coral re-colonization on an undisturbed ancient reef structure that dates back to 250,000 years. Diagenesis of earlier coral reef generations leading to coral dissolution leads to a loss of magnetic susceptibility and open system behavior of the coral skeletons with respect to U-series dating. While the processes causing such diagenetic layers are barely

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-01-01

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

  9. The Impact of Tropical Cyclones on Coral Bleaching and Coral Diseases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hooidonk, R. J.; Huber, M.

    2006-12-01

    Tropical cyclones (TCs) impact coral reef ecology in various ways, they cool down ambient sea surface temperature (SST), damage coral reefs by wave action, decrease salinity, increase nutrients, and increase sedimentation rates on a reef. Here we present an investigation into the effect of TCs on coral bleaching and the effect TCs have on the occurrence of coral diseases. Coral bleaching, the condition where the symbiotic zooxanthellae leave the coral host, is one of the major threats to coral reefs. Bleaching occurs in anomalously warm waters, analysis of historical TC tracks show that TCs frequently occur near coral bleaching episodes. Intriguingly, TCs cool down sea surface temperature by vertical mixing and as SST is the most important factor in coral bleaching this phenomenon might have an impact on the duration, occurrence and the resulting coral mortality, of bleaching events. In recent literature a correlation has been seen in the power of tropical cyclones and average sea surface temperature, making the study of the effect of TCs on the ecology of reefs an urgent one. We will present case studies where a TCs occurred near bleaching episodes and a statistical analysis to quantify this effect. To do this we use historical cyclone track data, satellite SST data, and a dataset of reefs. But there are other TC effects on reefs that bear investigation. Because TCs occur near corals that experience thermal stress, the changes in the corals environment caused by TCs might be anomalously detrimental. For example, data suggests that corals, because they are stressed by increased sedimentation, are more vulnerable to disease and algal overgrowth after TC damage. Nutrients have been shown to increase the severity of coral diseases. With satellite data it can be shown that short-term events such as increased run-off due to tropical cyclones can be an important part of the distribution of pollutants and pathogens affecting reefs. Infectious diseases severely affect

  10. 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.

  11. Response of coral reefs to climate change: Expansion and demise of the southernmost Pacific coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodroffe, Colin D.; Brooke, Brendan P.; Linklater, Michelle; Kennedy, David M.; Jones, Brian G.; Buchanan, Cameron; Mleczko, Richard; Hua, Quan; Zhao, Jian-xin

    2010-08-01

    Coral reefs track sea level and are particularly sensitive to changes in climate. Reefs are threatened by global warming, with many experiencing increased coral bleaching. Warmer sea surface temperatures might enable reef expansion into mid latitudes. Here we report multibeam sonar and coring that reveal an extensive relict coral reef around Lord Howe Island, which is fringed by the southernmost reef in the Pacific Ocean. The relict reef, in water depths of 25-50 m, flourished in early Holocene and covered an area more than 20 times larger than the modern reef. Radiocarbon and uranium-series dating indicates that corals grew between 9000 and 7000 years ago. The reef was subsequently drowned, and backstepped to its modern limited extent. This relict reef, with localised re-establishment of corals in the past three millennia, could become a substrate for reef expansion in response to warmer temperatures, anticipated later this century and beyond, if corals are able to recolonise its surface.

  12. Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont

    PubMed Central

    Wood-Charlson, Elisha M.; Suttle, Curtis A.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2014-01-01

    Reef-building corals comprise multipartite symbioses where the cnidarian animal is host to an array of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, and the viruses that infect them. These viruses are critical elements of the coral holobiont, serving not only as agents of mortality, but also as potential vectors for lateral gene flow, and as elements encoding a variety of auxiliary metabolic functions. Consequently, understanding the functioning and health of the coral holobiont requires detailed knowledge of the associated viral assemblage and its function. Currently, the most tractable way of uncovering viral diversity and function is through metagenomic approaches, which is inherently difficult in corals because of the complex holobiont community, an extracellular mucus layer that all corals secrete, and the variety of sizes and structures of nucleic acids found in viruses. Here we present the first protocol for isolating, purifying and amplifying viral nucleic acids from corals based on mechanical disruption of cells. This method produces at least 50% higher yields of viral nucleic acids, has very low levels of cellular sequence contamination and captures wider viral diversity than previously used chemical-based extraction methods. We demonstrate that our mechanical-based method profiles a greater diversity of DNA and RNA genomes, including virus groups such as Retro-transcribing and ssRNA viruses, which are absent from metagenomes generated via chemical-based methods. In addition, we briefly present (and make publically available) the first paired DNA and RNA viral metagenomes from the coral Acropora tenuis. PMID:24847321

  13. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    PubMed

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

    Microbial processes largely control the health and resilience of coral reef ecosystems, and new technologies have led to an exciting wave of discovery regarding the mechanisms by which microbial communities support the functioning of these incredibly diverse and valuable systems. There are three questions at the forefront of discovery: What mechanisms underlie coral reef health and resilience? How do environmental and anthropogenic pressures affect ecosystem function? What is the ecology of microbial diseases of corals? The goal is to understand the functioning of coral reefs as integrated systems from microbes and molecules to regional and ocean-basin scale ecosystems to enable accurate predictions of resilience and responses to perturbations such as climate change and eutrophication. This review outlines recent discoveries regarding the microbial ecology of different microenvironments within coral ecosystems, and highlights research directions that take advantage of new technologies to build a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how coral health is connected through microbial processes to its surrounding environment. The time is ripe for natural resource managers and microbial ecologists to work together to create an integrated understanding of coral reef functioning. In the context of long-term survival and conservation of reefs, the need for this work is immediate.

  14. Evidence of photosymbiosis in Palaeozoic tabulate corals

    PubMed Central

    Zapalski, Mikołaj K.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs form the most diverse of all marine ecosystems on the Earth. Corals are among their main components and owe their bioconstructing abilities to a symbiosis with algae (Symbiodinium). The coral–algae symbiosis had been traced back to the Triassic (ca 240 Ma). Modern reef-building corals (Scleractinia) appeared after the Permian–Triassic crisis; in the Palaeozoic, some of the main reef constructors were extinct tabulate corals. The calcium carbonate secreted by extant photosymbiotic corals bears characteristic isotope (C and O) signatures. The analysis of tabulate corals belonging to four orders (Favositida, Heliolitida, Syringoporida and Auloporida) from Silurian to Permian strata of Europe and Africa shows these characteristic carbon and oxygen stable isotope signatures. The δ18O to δ13C ratios in recent photosymbiotic scleractinians are very similar to those of Palaeozoic tabulates, thus providing strong evidence of such symbioses as early as the Middle Silurian (ca 430 Ma). Corals in Palaeozoic reefs used the same cellular mechanisms for carbonate secretion as recent reefs, and thus contributed to reef formation. PMID:24307674

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  16. Cryptic effects of habitat declines: coral-associated fishes avoid coral-seaweed interactions due to visual and chemical cues.

    PubMed

    Brooker, Rohan M; Brandl, Simon J; Dixson, Danielle L

    2016-01-04

    Seaweed-dominated coral reefs are becoming increasingly common as environmental conditions shift away from those required by corals and toward those ideal for rampant seaweed growth. How coral-associated organisms respond to seaweed will not only impact their fate following environmental change but potentially also the trajectories of the coral communities on which they rely. However, behavioral responses by coral-associated organisms to seaweeds are poorly understood. This study examined interactions between a guild of obligate and opportunistic coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) and scleractinian corals to determine whether fishes continue to interact with corals in contact with seaweed or if they are avoided. Under natural conditions, all species interacted almost exclusively with seaweed-free corals. In a controlled patch reef experiment, fishes avoided corals in physical contact with seaweed, irrespective of dietary preferences. When visual seaweed cues were removed, butterflyfish continued to avoid corals that had been in contact with the allelopathic Galaxaura filamentosa, suggesting that chemical cues produced by coral-seaweed interactions are repellent. These findings suggest that, due to deleterious visual and chemical cues produced by coral-seaweed interactions, coral-associated organisms may struggle to locate resources as seaweed-free corals decline in abundance.

  17. Cryptic effects of habitat declines: coral-associated fishes avoid coral-seaweed interactions due to visual and chemical cues

    PubMed Central

    Brooker, Rohan M.; Brandl, Simon J.; Dixson, Danielle L.

    2016-01-01

    Seaweed-dominated coral reefs are becoming increasingly common as environmental conditions shift away from those required by corals and toward those ideal for rampant seaweed growth. How coral-associated organisms respond to seaweed will not only impact their fate following environmental change but potentially also the trajectories of the coral communities on which they rely. However, behavioral responses by coral-associated organisms to seaweeds are poorly understood. This study examined interactions between a guild of obligate and opportunistic coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) and scleractinian corals to determine whether fishes continue to interact with corals in contact with seaweed or if they are avoided. Under natural conditions, all species interacted almost exclusively with seaweed-free corals. In a controlled patch reef experiment, fishes avoided corals in physical contact with seaweed, irrespective of dietary preferences. When visual seaweed cues were removed, butterflyfish continued to avoid corals that had been in contact with the allelopathic Galaxaura filamentosa, suggesting that chemical cues produced by coral-seaweed interactions are repellent. These findings suggest that, due to deleterious visual and chemical cues produced by coral-seaweed interactions, coral-associated organisms may struggle to locate resources as seaweed-free corals decline in abundance. PMID:26725835

  18. Helium-uranium dating of corals.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bender, M. L.

    1973-01-01

    Fanale and Schaeffer (1965) determined He/U ages of corals and other aragonitic fossils, and found that the results generally agreed with independent age estimates. As a more extensive and rigorous test of the reliability of He/U ages of fossil corals, I have determined He/U ages of forty-five independently dated Cenozoic corals. Uranium and thorium isotope compositions and Rn-222 retentivities were also determined as consistency checks. The results indicate that reliable ages are obtained when certain consistency tests are met and specified corrections are made.

  19. USGS research on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2015-10-23

    Coral reefs are massive, biomineralized structures that protect coastal communities by acting as barriers to hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis. They provide sand for beaches through the natural process of erosion, support tourism and recreational industries, and provide essential habitat for fisheries. The continuing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems is well documented. There is a need for focused, coordinated science to understand the complex physical and biological processes and interactions that are impacting the condition of coral reefs and their ability to respond to a changing environment.

  20. Geological Approaches to Coral Reef Ecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kench, Paul

    2008-09-01

    Tropical coral reef systems cover an estimated 284,300 square kilometers of the Earth's surface and are considered among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. The reef systems are zones of high biological diversity, habitat for about one quarter of all known marine species, and important components of the global carbon cycle. In addition, they provide the physical foundation for a number of mid-ocean nation states. Coral reefs worldwide are considered to be in serious ecological decline due to anthropogenic impacts, natural stresses, and climate change. However, these gloomy projections for coral reefs are based largely on analysis of short-term changes in their ecological condition.

  1. Helium-uranium dating of corals.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bender, M. L.

    1973-01-01

    Fanale and Schaeffer (1965) determined He/U ages of corals and other aragonitic fossils, and found that the results generally agreed with independent age estimates. As a more extensive and rigorous test of the reliability of He/U ages of fossil corals, I have determined He/U ages of forty-five independently dated Cenozoic corals. Uranium and thorium isotope compositions and Rn-222 retentivities were also determined as consistency checks. The results indicate that reliable ages are obtained when certain consistency tests are met and specified corrections are made.

  2. Key functional role of the optical properties of coral skeletons in coral ecology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Enríquez, Susana; Méndez, Eugenio R; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2017-04-26

    Multiple scattering of light on coral skeleton enhances light absorption efficiency of coral symbionts and plays a key role in the regulation of their internal diffuse light field. To understand the dependence of this enhancement on skeleton meso- and macrostructure, we analysed the scattering abilities of naked coral skeletons for 74 Indo-Pacific species. Sensitive morphotypes to thermal and light stress, flat-extraplanate and branching corals, showed the most efficient structures, while massive-robust species were less efficient. The lowest light-enhancing scattering abilities were found for the most primitive colonial growth form: phaceloid. Accordingly, the development of highly efficient light-collecting structures versus the selection of less efficient but more robust holobionts to cope with light stress may constitute a trade-off in the evolution of modern symbiotic scleractinian corals, characterizing two successful adaptive solutions. The coincidence of the most important structural modifications with epitheca decline supports the importance of the enhancement of light transmission across coral skeleton in modern scleractinian diversification, and the central role of these symbioses in the design and optimization of coral skeleton. Furthermore, the same ability that lies at the heart of the success of symbiotic corals as coral-reef-builders can also explain the 'Achilles's heel' of these symbioses in a warming ocean. © 2017 The Author(s).

  3. Corals Like It Waxed: Paraffin-Based Antifouling Technology Enhances Coral Spat Survival

    PubMed Central

    Tebben, Jan; Guest, James R.; Sin, Tsai M.; Steinberg, Peter D.; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

    The early post-settlement stage is the most sensitive during the life history of reef building corals. However, few studies have examined the factors that influence coral mortality during this period. Here, the impact of fouling on the survival of newly settled coral spat of Acropora millepora was investigated by manipulating the extent of fouling cover on settlement tiles using non-toxic, wax antifouling coatings. Survival of spat on coated tiles was double that on control tiles. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between percentage cover of fouling and spat survival across all tiles types, suggesting that fouling in direct proximity to settled corals has detrimental effects on early post-settlement survival. While previous studies have shown that increased fouling negatively affects coral larval settlement and health of juvenile and adult corals, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show a direct relationship between fouling and early post-settlement survival for a broadcast spawning scleractinian coral. The negative effects of fouling on this sensitive life history stage may become more pronounced in the future as coastal eutrophication increases. Our results further suggest that targeted seeding of coral spat on artificial surfaces in combination with fouling control could prove useful to improve the efficiency of sexual reproduction-based coral propagation for reef rehabilitation. PMID:24489936

  4. CoBOP Coral Reefs: Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2003-09-30

    CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field Dr. Charles S. Yentsch Bigelow Laboratory McKown Point Road West...number. 1. REPORT DATE 30 SEP 2003 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2003 to 00-00-2003 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE CoBOP Coral Reefs : Optical...Closure of a Coral Reef Submarine Light Field 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e

  5. NOAA Coral Reef Watch: Decision Support Tools for Coral Reef Managers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rauenzahn, J.; Eakin, C.; Skirving, W. J.; Burgess, T.; Christensen, T.; Heron, S. F.; Li, J.; Liu, G.; Morgan, J.; Nim, C.; Parker, B. A.; Strong, A. E.

    2010-12-01

    A multitude of natural and anthropogenic stressors exert substantial influence on coral reef ecosystems and contribute to bleaching events, slower coral growth, infectious disease outbreaks, and mortality. Satellite-based observations can monitor, at a global scale, environmental conditions that influence both short-term and long-term coral reef ecosystem health. From research to operations, NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) incorporates paleoclimatic, in situ, and satellite-based biogeophysical data to provide near-real-time and forecast information and tools to help managers, researchers, and other stakeholders interpret coral health and stress. CRW has developed an operational, near-real-time product suite that includes sea surface temperature (SST), SST time series data, SST anomaly charts, coral bleaching HotSpots, and Degree Heating Weeks (DHW). Bi-weekly global SST analyses are based on operational nighttime-only SST at 50-km resolution. CRW is working to develop high-resolution products to better address thermal stress on finer scales and is applying climate models to develop seasonal outlooks of coral bleaching. Automated Satellite Bleaching Alerts (SBAs), available at Virtual Stations worldwide, provide the only global early-warning system to notify managers of changing reef environmental conditions. Currently, CRW is collaborating with numerous domestic and international partners to develop new tools to address ocean acidification, infectious diseases of corals, combining light and temperature to detect coral photosystem stress, and other parameters.

  6. Density-associated recruitment mediates coral population dynamics on a coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bramanti, Lorenzo; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Theory suggests that density-associated processes can modulate community resilience following declines in population size. Here, we demonstrate density-associated processes in two scleractinian populations on the outer reef of Moorea, French Polynesia, that are rapidly increasing in size following the effects of two catastrophic disturbances. Between 2006 and 2010, predation by the corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea star reduced coral cover by 93 %; in 2010, the dead coral skeletons were removed by a cyclone, and in 2011 and 2012, high coral recruitment initiated population recovery. Coral recruitment was associated with coral cover, but the relationship differed between two coral genera that are almost exclusively broadcast spawners in Moorea. Acroporids recruited at low densities, and the density of recruits was positively associated with cover of Acropora, whereas pocilloporids recruited at high densities, and densities of their recruits were negatively associated with cover of Pocillopora. Together, our results suggest that associations between adult cover and density of both juveniles and recruits can mediate rapid coral community recovery after large disturbances. The difference between taxa in sign of the relationships between recruit density and coral cover indicate that they reflect contrasting mechanisms with the potential to mediate temporal shifts in taxonomic composition of coral communities.

  7. Corals like it waxed: paraffin-based antifouling technology enhances coral spat survival.

    PubMed

    Tebben, Jan; Guest, James R; Sin, Tsai M; Steinberg, Peter D; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

    The early post-settlement stage is the most sensitive during the life history of reef building corals. However, few studies have examined the factors that influence coral mortality during this period. Here, the impact of fouling on the survival of newly settled coral spat of Acropora millepora was investigated by manipulating the extent of fouling cover on settlement tiles using non-toxic, wax antifouling coatings. Survival of spat on coated tiles was double that on control tiles. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between percentage cover of fouling and spat survival across all tiles types, suggesting that fouling in direct proximity to settled corals has detrimental effects on early post-settlement survival. While previous studies have shown that increased fouling negatively affects coral larval settlement and health of juvenile and adult corals, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show a direct relationship between fouling and early post-settlement survival for a broadcast spawning scleractinian coral. The negative effects of fouling on this sensitive life history stage may become more pronounced in the future as coastal eutrophication increases. Our results further suggest that targeted seeding of coral spat on artificial surfaces in combination with fouling control could prove useful to improve the efficiency of sexual reproduction-based coral propagation for reef rehabilitation.

  8. "The Coral Reef Micro-Canopy": A New Concept in Coral Ecophysiology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wangpraseurt, D.; Kühl, M.

    2016-02-01

    Terrestrial plant canopies are highly optimised photosynthetic systems. The high photosynthetic efficiency is achieved on a systems level and is the result of two characteristic traits: 1) the incident irradiance is strongly diffused and redistributed by elements of the canopy and 2) the photosynthetic apparatus is photoacclimated to the local light environment. Our recent studies of coral tissue optics and in vivo photosynthesis have revealed that similar canopy characteristics occur on a microscale within the coral tissue. In the present talk we propose the "Coral Micro-Canopy" theory. We reveal new insight into the light handling strategies of coral tissues and then show how such light management can optimise photosynthesis, both on the algal cell level and on the tissue systems level. We propose that coral tissue optical properties and Symbiodinium photoadaptation in response to local light microgradients within the tissue work in concert to optimise energy acquisition of the coral tissue system. We argue that the evolution of flexible light scattering tissues is an important feature that enables highly efficient photosynthesis in symbiont-bearing corals. The coral micro-canopy theory is discussed with respect to our basic understanding of coral ecophysiology and stress physiology.

  9. The role of microorganisms in coral health, disease and evolution.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Koren, Omry; Reshef, Leah; Efrony, Rotem; Zilber-Rosenberg, Ilana

    2007-05-01

    Coral microbiology is an emerging field, driven largely by a desire to understand, and ultimately prevent, the worldwide destruction of coral reefs. The mucus layer, skeleton and tissues of healthy corals all contain large populations of eukaryotic algae, bacteria and archaea. These microorganisms confer benefits to their host by various mechanisms, including photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, the provision of nutrients and infection prevention. Conversely, in conditions of environmental stress, certain microorganisms cause coral bleaching and other diseases. Recent research indicates that corals can develop resistance to specific pathogens and adapt to higher environmental temperatures. To explain these findings the coral probiotic hypothesis proposes the occurrence of a dynamic relationship between symbiotic microorganisms and corals that selects for the coral holobiont that is best suited for the prevailing environmental conditions. Generalization of the coral probiotic hypothesis has led us to propose the hologenome theory of evolution.

  10. River discharge reduces reef coral diversity in Palau.

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-01

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

  11. The urgent need for robust coral disease diagnostics.

    PubMed

    Pollock, F Joseph; Morris, Pamela J; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2011-10-01

    Coral disease has emerged over recent decades as a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems, with declines in coral cover and diversity of Caribbean reefs providing an example of the potential impacts of disease at regional scales. If similar trends are to be mitigated or avoided on reefs worldwide, a deeper understanding of the factors underlying the origin and spread of coral diseases and the steps that can be taken to prevent, control, or reduce their impacts is required. In recent years, an increased focus on coral microbiology and the application of classic culture techniques and emerging molecular technologies has revealed several coral pathogens that could serve as targets for novel coral disease diagnostic tools. The ability to detect and quantify microbial agents identified as indicators of coral disease will aid in the elucidation of disease causation and facilitate coral disease detection and diagnosis, pathogen monitoring in individuals and ecosystems, and identification of pathogen sources, vectors, and reservoirs. This information will advance the field of coral disease research and contribute knowledge necessary for effective coral reef management. This paper establishes the need for sensitive and specific molecular-based coral pathogen detection, outlines the emerging technologies that could serve as the basis of a new generation of coral disease diagnostic assays, and addresses the unique challenges inherent to the application of these techniques to environmentally derived coral samples.

  12. The Urgent Need for Robust Coral Disease Diagnostics

    PubMed Central

    Pollock, F. Joseph; Morris, Pamela J.; Willis, Bette L.; Bourne, David G.

    2011-01-01

    Coral disease has emerged over recent decades as a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems, with declines in coral cover and diversity of Caribbean reefs providing an example of the potential impacts of disease at regional scales. If similar trends are to be mitigated or avoided on reefs worldwide, a deeper understanding of the factors underlying the origin and spread of coral diseases and the steps that can be taken to prevent, control, or reduce their impacts is required. In recent years, an increased focus on coral microbiology and the application of classic culture techniques and emerging molecular technologies has revealed several coral pathogens that could serve as targets for novel coral disease diagnostic tools. The ability to detect and quantify microbial agents identified as indicators of coral disease will aid in the elucidation of disease causation and facilitate coral disease detection and diagnosis, pathogen monitoring in individuals and ecosystems, and identification of pathogen sources, vectors, and reservoirs. This information will advance the field of coral disease research and contribute knowledge necessary for effective coral reef management. This paper establishes the need for sensitive and specific molecular-based coral pathogen detection, outlines the emerging technologies that could serve as the basis of a new generation of coral disease diagnostic assays, and addresses the unique challenges inherent to the application of these techniques to environmentally derived coral samples. PMID:22028646

  13. Facilitation in Caribbean coral reefs: high densities of staghorn coral foster greater coral condition and reef fish composition.

    PubMed

    Huntington, Brittany E; Miller, Margaret W; Pausch, Rachel; Richter, Lee

    2017-04-04

    Recovery of the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is posited to play a key role in Caribbean reef resilience. At four Caribbean locations (including one restored and three extant populations), we quantified characteristics of contemporary staghorn coral across increasing conspecific densities, and investigated a hypothesis of facilitation between staghorn coral and reef fishes. High staghorn densities in the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly less partial mortality, higher branch growth, and supported greater fish abundances compared to lower densities within the same population. In contrast, partial mortality, branch growth, and fish community composition did not vary with staghorn density at the three other study locations where staghorn densities were lower overall. This suggests that density-dependent effects between the coral and fish community may only manifest at high staghorn densities. We then evaluated one facilitative mechanism for such density-dependence, whereby abundant fishes sheltering in dense staghorn aggregations deliver nutrients back to the coral, fueling faster coral growth, thereby creating more fish habitat. Indeed, dense staghorn aggregations within the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly higher growth rates, tissue nitrogen, and zooxanthellae densities than sparse aggregations. Similarly, higher tissue nitrogen was induced in a macroalgae bioassay outplanted into the same dense and sparse aggregations, confirming greater bioavailability of nutrients at high staghorn densities. Our findings inform staghorn restoration efforts, suggesting that the most effective targets may be higher coral densities than previously thought. These coral-dense aggregations may reap the benefits of positive facilitation between the staghorn and fish community, favoring the growth and survivorship of this threatened species.

  14. Ancient parasites from endemic deer from "CUEVA PARQUE DIANA" archeological site, Patagonia, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Beltrame, María Ornela; Tietze, Eleonor; Pérez, Alberto Enrique; Bellusci, Agustín; Sardella, Norma Haydée

    2017-03-24

    The narrow Andean-Patagonian temperate rainforest strip in the west of southern South America is inhabited by two endemic species of cervids, the southern pudu (Pudu puda) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus), both cataloged as near threatened and threatened species, respectively. One of the possible causes of their declined number is the susceptibility to livestock diseases. Significant zooarchaeological records of both deer have been found throughout the Holocene from Patagonia. The present contribution reports the first paleoparasitological results obtained from coprolites of endemic deer from the archeological site "Cueva Parque Diana," Neuquén Province, Argentina, and discusses the possible diseases found in ancient times. Thirty-four coprolites were fully processed, rehydrated, homogenized, sieved, subjected to spontaneous sedimentation, and examined by light microscopy. Thirty samples contained parasite remains. The presence of diverse parasitic diseases such as trematodioses, metastrongylosis, trichuriosis, strongylida gastroenteritis, dioctophymosis, and coccidiosis which could cause diseases in deer previous to the arrival of European livestock and the presence of zoonotic diseases in the hunters-gatherers and fishermen are discussed.

  15. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  16. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  17. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  18. New protection initiatives announced for coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    Off the coasts of some of the South Pacific's most idyllic-sounding atolls, Austin Bowden-Kerby has seen first-hand the heavy damage to coral reefs from dynamite and cyanide fishing. For instance, while snorkeling near Chuuk, an island in Micronesia, he has observed craters and rubble beds of coral, which locals have told him date to World War II ordnance.A marine biologist and project scientist for the Coral Gardens Initiative of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Bowden-Kerby has also identified what he says are some public health effects related to destroyed coral reefs and their dying fisheries. These problems include protein and vitamin A deficiency and blindness, all of which may—in some instances—be linked to poor nutrition resulting from lower reef fish consumption by islanders, according to Bowden-Kerby.

  19. Global Forecasting of Coral Bleaching Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eakin, C. M.; Liu, G.; Matrosova, L. E.; Penland, M. C.; Gledhill, D. K.; Webb, R. S.; Christensen, T. R.; Heron, S. F.; Morgan, J. A.; Parker, B. A.; Skirving, W. J.; Strong, A. E.

    2009-05-01

    In July 2008, NOAA Coral Reef Watch launched a new seasonal prediction tool for coral bleaching conditions to augment its real-time satellite monitoring. A model of thermal stress from two to 16 weeks in the future was developed through collaboration with the Physical Sciences Division of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, to forecast the risk of coral bleaching well in advance. The system is built on sea surface temperature forecasts provided by NOAA's Linear Inverse Model (LIM) that has successfully produced predictions of tropical Pacific and Atlantic SST anomalies. This presentation will outline this product, and compare the forecast with satellite observations of actual thermal stress. Such forecasting tools provide critical and timely decision support for coral reef managers and scientists worldwide.

  20. Marine biology: The coral disease triangle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruno, John F.

    2015-04-01

    The underlying causes of biodiversity loss can be numerous and difficult to identify. Now evidence suggests that disease outbreaks triggered by warming oceans are a primary cause of the disappearance of Caribbean coral reefs.

  1. PhyloChip Tackles Coral Disease

    ScienceCinema

    Todd DeSantis

    2016-07-12

    Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Merced are using an innovative DNA array developed at Berkeley Lab to catalog the microbes that live among coral in the tropical waters off the coast of Puerto Rico.

  2. Dynamic fragility of oceanic coral reef ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Jennings, Simon; Polunin, Nicholas V. C.; Bijoux, Jude P.; Robinson, Jan

    2006-01-01

    As one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems known, and one of the first ecosystems to exhibit major climate-warming impacts (coral bleaching), coral reefs have drawn much scientific attention to what may prove to be their Achilles heel, the thermal sensitivity of reef-building corals. Here we show that climate change-driven loss of live coral, and ultimately structural complexity, in the Seychelles results in local extinctions, substantial reductions in species richness, reduced taxonomic distinctness, and a loss of species within key functional groups of reef fish. The importance of deteriorating physical structure to these patterns demonstrates the longer-term impacts of bleaching on reefs and raises questions over the potential for recovery. We suggest that isolated reef systems may be more susceptible to climate change, despite escaping many of the stressors impacting continental reefs. PMID:16709673

  3. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  4. 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.

  5. PhyloChip Tackles Coral Disease

    SciTech Connect

    Todd DeSantis

    2009-01-30

    Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Merced are using an innovative DNA array developed at Berkeley Lab to catalog the microbes that live among coral in the tropical waters off the coast of Puerto Rico.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-07

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

  7. Spatial refugia mediate juvenile coral survival during coral-predator interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallagher, Clare; Doropoulos, Christopher

    2017-03-01

    Coral recruitment and juvenile growth are essential processes for coral population maintenance and recovery. A growing body of research has evaluated the influence of reef microstructure on coral settlement and post-settlement survival, showing that physical refugia enhance recruitment. These studies have evaluated coral recruit morality from competition with macroalgae and indirect predation by grazing organisms, but the impact of direct predation by corallivorous piscine species on juvenile corals and how this interacts with reef microstructure is relatively unknown. This study examined whether refugia provided by micro-crevices enhance juvenile coral survival from corallivory. Juvenile corals from two different functional groups, the slow-growing massive Porites lobata and fast-growing branching Pocillopora damicornis, with average nubbin sizes of 1.4 cm × 0.3 cm and 0.5 cm × 1.0 cm (diameter × height), respectively, were attached to experimental tiles using small (1.44 cm3) and large (8.0 cm3) crevice sizes and were monitored for 29 d on a forereef in Palau. Full crevices (four sided) enhanced coral survival compared to exposed microhabitats in both coral taxa, but crevice size did not alter survival rates. Corallivores targeted recruits within crevices regardless of crevice size; dominant predators included small triggerfish (Balistidae), butterflyfish ( Chaetodon), and wrasse ( Cheilinus). Overall, Pocillopora suffered much higher rates of mortality than Porites. All Pocillopora were consumed by day 8 of the experiment, but mortality was significantly delayed in full crevices compared to exposed and partial crevice (three sided) microhabitats. In contrast, Por. lobata located in all microhabitats survived the entire experiment up to 29 d, with high survival in full (>90%) and partial crevices (70%), but only 28% survival in exposed microhabitats. These findings show the importance of crevices as spatial refugia from predators for juvenile corals and

  8. Coral-algal phase shifts on coral reefs: Ecological and environmental aspects [review article

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McManus, John W.; Polsenberg, Johanna F.

    2004-02-01

    This paper briefly reviews coral-algal phase shifts on coral reefs, with particular regard to summarizing the exogenous and endogenous factors in support of a proposed conceptual model, and to identifying critical information gaps. A phase shift occurs on a coral reef when the cover of a substrate by scleractinian corals is reduced in favor of macroalgal dominance, and resilience of the former condition is retarded because of ecological processes and/or environmental conditions. The change is often, but not always, associated with a perturbation such as coral bleaching, outbreaks of a coral-eating species, or storm damage. The new state is generally associated with some combination of reduced herbivory (from disease and/or fishing) and nutrient enrichment, although the relative importance of these factors is under debate and may vary among locations and even across single reefs. Disturbances that result in a state of generally low biotic three-dimensional structural complexity often precede a phase shift. Following such a disturbance, the system will pass to a state of higher biotic structural complexity, with either macroalgae or coral dominating. As the community progresses towards larger and more three-dimensionally complex corals or macroalgae, it exhibits greater resistance to shifting dominance from one state to the other. Studies of the phase-shift phenomena have been generally conducted at scales that are small relative to the sizes and inherent variability of whole coral reefs and systems of reefs. There is an urgent need for studies aimed at quantifying and simulating cause and effect aspects of the phase shift, including human-environment coupling, particularly in support of coral reef decision-making.

  9. 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.

  10. Astronaut Photography of Coral Reefs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, Julie A.; Noordeloos, Marco

    2001-01-01

    Astronaut photographs of tropical coastal areas may contain information on submerged features, including coral reefs, up to depths of about 15 m in clear waters. Previous research efforts have shown that astronaut photographs can aid in estimating coral reef locations and extent on national, regional and global scales, and allow characterization of major geomorphological rim and lagoon features (Andrefouet et al. 2000, in preparation). They can be combined with traditional satellite data to help distinguish between clouds and lagoon features such as pinnacles (Andrefouet and Robinson, in review). Furthermore, astronaut photographs may provide reef scientists and managers with information on the location and extent of river plumes and sediment run off, or facilitate identification of land cover types, including mangroves (Webb et al., in press). Photographs included in the section were selected based on several criteria. The primary consideration of the editors was that the photographs represent a worldwide distribution of coral reefs, have extremely low visual interference by cloud cover, and display a spatial scale reasonable for examining reef-related features. Once photographs were selected, they were digitized from 2nd generation copies. The color and contrast were hand corrected to an approximation of natural color (required to account for spectral differences between photographs due to the color sensitivities of films used, and differences in sun angle and exposure of the photographs). None of the photographs shown here have been georeferenced to correct them to a map projection and scale. Any distortions in features due to slightly oblique look angles when the photographs were taken through spacecraft windows remain. When feasible, near vertical photographs have been rotated so that north is toward the top. An approximate scale bar and north arrow have added using distinctive features on each photograph with reference to a 1:1,000,000 scale navigation chart

  11. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    PubMed

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

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

  12. Symbiodinium Clade Affects Coral Skeletal Isotopic Ratio

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  13. Chemically rich seaweeds poison corals when not controlled by herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Rasher, Douglas B.; Hay, Mark E.

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are in dramatic global decline, with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. It is unclear, however, whether seaweeds harm corals directly or colonize opportunistically following their decline and then suppress coral recruitment. In the Caribbean and tropical Pacific, we show that, when protected from herbivores, ~40 to 70% of common seaweeds cause bleaching and death of coral tissue when in direct contact. For seaweeds that harmed coral tissues, their lipid-soluble extracts also produced rapid bleaching. Coral bleaching and mortality was limited to areas of direct contact with seaweeds or their extracts. These patterns suggest that allelopathic seaweed-coral interactions can be important on reefs lacking herbivore control of seaweeds, and that these interactions involve lipid-soluble metabolites transferred via direct contact. Seaweeds were rapidly consumed when placed on a Pacific reef protected from fishing but were left intact or consumed at slower rates on an adjacent fished reef, indicating that herbivory will suppress seaweeds and lower frequency of allelopathic damage to corals if reefs retain intact food webs. With continued removal of herbivores from coral reefs, seaweeds are becoming more common. This occurrence will lead to increasing frequency of seaweed-coral contacts, increasing allelopathic suppression of remaining corals, and continuing decline of reef corals. PMID:20457927

  14. Behaviourally mediated phenotypic selection in a disturbed coral reef environment.

    PubMed

    McCormick, Mark I

    2009-09-18

    Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitude and frequency of these perturbations are predicted to increase under climate change. Globally coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Fishes often show relatively rapid declines in abundance when corals become stressed and die, but the processes responsible are largely unknown. This study explored the mechanism by which coral bleaching may influence the levels and selective nature of mortality on a juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which associates with hard coral. Recently settled fish had a low propensity to migrate small distances (40 cm) between habitat patches, even when densities were elevated to their natural maximum. Intraspecific interactions and space use differ among three habitats: live hard coral, bleached coral and dead algal-covered coral. Large fish pushed smaller fish further from the shelter of bleached and dead coral thereby exposing smaller fish to higher mortality than experienced on healthy coral. Small recruits suffered higher mortality than large recruits on bleached and dead coral. Mortality was not size selective on live coral. Survival was 3 times as high on live coral as on either bleached or dead coral. Subtle behavioural interactions between fish and their habitats influence the fundamental link between life history stages, the distribution of phenotypic traits in the local population and potentially the evolution of life history strategies.

  15. Chemically rich seaweeds poison corals when not controlled by herbivores.

    PubMed

    Rasher, Douglas B; Hay, Mark E

    2010-05-25

    Coral reefs are in dramatic global decline, with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. It is unclear, however, whether seaweeds harm corals directly or colonize opportunistically following their decline and then suppress coral recruitment. In the Caribbean and tropical Pacific, we show that, when protected from herbivores, approximately 40 to 70% of common seaweeds cause bleaching and death of coral tissue when in direct contact. For seaweeds that harmed coral tissues, their lipid-soluble extracts also produced rapid bleaching. Coral bleaching and mortality was limited to areas of direct contact with seaweeds or their extracts. These patterns suggest that allelopathic seaweed-coral interactions can be important on reefs lacking herbivore control of seaweeds, and that these interactions involve lipid-soluble metabolites transferred via direct contact. Seaweeds were rapidly consumed when placed on a Pacific reef protected from fishing but were left intact or consumed at slower rates on an adjacent fished reef, indicating that herbivory will suppress seaweeds and lower frequency of allelopathic damage to corals if reefs retain intact food webs. With continued removal of herbivores from coral reefs, seaweeds are becoming more common. This occurrence will lead to increasing frequency of seaweed-coral contacts, increasing allelopathic suppression of remaining corals, and continuing decline of reef corals.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  19. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be induc...

  20. RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO CORAL BLEACHING: IMPLICATIONS FOR CORAL REEF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The massive scale of the 1997-1998 El Nino-associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality. As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent ...

  1. Identification and prevalence of coral diseases on three Western Indian Ocean coral reefs.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-03

    Coral diseases have caused a substantial decline in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. To date, more than 30 distinct diseases of scleractinian corals have been reported, which cause progressive tissue loss and/or affect coral growth, reproductive capacity, recruitment, species diversity and the abundance of reef-associated organisms. While coral disease research has increased over the last 4 decades, very little is known about coral diseases in the Western Indian Ocean. Surveys conducted at multiple sites in Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte between August 2010 and June 2012 revealed the presence of 6 main coral diseases: black band disease (BBD), white syndrome (WS), pink line syndrome (PLS), growth anomalies (GA), skeleton eroding band (SEB) and Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Overall, disease prevalence was higher in Reunion (7.5 ± 2.2%; mean ± SE) compared to South Africa (3.9 ± 0.8%) and Mayotte (2.7 ± 0.3%). Across locations, Acropora and Porites were the genera most susceptible to disease. Spatial variability was detected in both Reunion and South Africa, with BBD and WS more prevalent on shallow than deep reefs. There was also evidence of seasonality in 2 diseases: the prevalence of BBD and WS was higher in summer than winter. This was the first study to investigate the ecology of coral diseases, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, on Western Indian Ocean reefs, and surveys should be expanded to confirm these patterns.

  2. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Through interactions with other factors such as sedimentation, pollution, and bacterial infection, bleaching can impact large areas of a reef with limited recovery, and it might be induc...

  3. RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO CORAL BLEACHING: IMPLICATIONS FOR CORAL REEF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The massive scale of the 1997-1998 El Nino-associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality. As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent ...

  4. Coral-bacterial communities before and after a coral mass spawning event on Ningaloo Reef.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  5. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS: RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increased exposure to solar UV radiation and elevated water temperatures are believed to play a role in the bleaching of corals. To provide additional tools for evaluating the role of UV radiation, we have examined UV-specific effects in coral and have characterized factors that ...

  6. Circadian clocks in symbiotic corals: the duet between Symbiodinium algae and their coral host.

    PubMed

    Sorek, Michal; Díaz-Almeyda, Erika M; Medina, Mónica; Levy, Oren

    2014-04-01

    To date, the association and synchronization between two organismal circadian clocks ticking in parallel as part of a meta-organism (termed a symbiotic association), have rarely been investigated. Reef-building corals exhibit complex rhythmic responses to diurnal, lunar, and annual changes. Understanding circadian, circatidal, and annual regulation in reef-building corals is complicated by the presence of photosynthetic endosymbionts, which have a profound physiochemical influence on the intracellular environment. How corals tune their animal-based clock machinery to respond to external cues while simultaneously responding to internal physiological changes imposed by the symbiont, is not clear. There is insufficient molecular or physiological evidence of the existence of a circadian pacemaker that controls the metabolism, photosynthesis, synchronized mass spawning, and calcification processes in symbiotic corals. In this review, we present current knowledge regarding the animal pacemaker and the symbiotic-algal pacemaker. We examine the evidence from behavioral, physiological, molecular, and evolutionary perspectives. We explain why symbiotic corals are an interesting model with which to study the complexities and evolution of the metazoan circadian clock. We also provide evidence of why the chronobiology of corals is fundamental and extremely important for explaining the biology, physiology, and metabolism of coral reefs. A deeper understanding of these complex issues can help explain coral mass spawning, one of the earth's greatest and most mysterious behavioral phenomena. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Monitoring Growth of Hard Corals as Performance Indicators for Coral Reefs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crabbe, M. James; Karaviotis, Sarah; Smith, David J.

    2004-01-01

    Digital videophotography, computer image analysis and physical measurements have been used to monitor sedimentation rates, coral cover, genera richness, rugosity, and estimated recruitment dates of massive corals at three different sites in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia, and on the reefs around Discovery Bay, Jamaica.…

  8. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORALS: RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increased exposure to solar UV radiation and elevated water temperatures are believed to play a role in the bleaching of corals. To provide additional tools for evaluating the role of UV radiation, we have examined UV-specific effects in coral and have characterized factors that ...

  9. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORAL AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Bleaching can destroy large areas of a reef with limited recovery or recruitment, and it may be induced by a variety of stressors ranging from exposure to temperature and salinity extrem...

  10. Monitoring Growth of Hard Corals as Performance Indicators for Coral Reefs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crabbe, M. James; Karaviotis, Sarah; Smith, David J.

    2004-01-01

    Digital videophotography, computer image analysis and physical measurements have been used to monitor sedimentation rates, coral cover, genera richness, rugosity, and estimated recruitment dates of massive corals at three different sites in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia, and on the reefs around Discovery Bay, Jamaica.…

  11. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M.; Mueller, Christina E.; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J.; van Duyl, Fleur C.; Al-Horani, Fuad A.; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S.; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-01

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21–40% of the mucus carbon and 32–39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments. PMID:26740019

  12. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M; Mueller, Christina E; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J; van Duyl, Fleur C; Al-Horani, Fuad A; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-07

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21-40% of the mucus carbon and 32-39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments.

  13. INDICATORS OF UV EXPOSURE IN CORAL AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORAL BLEACHING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A compelling aspect of the deterioration of coral reefs is the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Bleaching can destroy large areas of a reef with limited recovery or recruitment, and it may be induced by a variety of stressors ranging from exposure to temperature and salinity extrem...

  14. Arrecifes de Coral: Una Coleccion de Actividades en Espanol para Estudiantes de Escuela Intermedia (Coral Reefs: A Spanish Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book for middle school students on coral reefs is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 is the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 describes where coral reefs are found, and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 describes the…

  15. A new Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from Parque Nacional Montaña de Botaderos in northeastern Honduras.

    PubMed

    Townsend, Josiah H; Medina-flores, Melissa; Reyes-Calderón, Onán; Austin, James D

    2013-01-01

    The highlands of northeastern Honduras remain under-characterized in terms of biological diversity, as exemplified by the regularity of new amphibian and reptile taxa discoveries. Following the recent description of a new species of Nototriton from the Sierra de Agalta in northeastern Honduras, we report the discovery of a second new species of Nototriton from the nearby Parque Nacional Montaña de Botaderos. This new taxon, Nototriton mime sp. nov., is distinguished from other Nototriton by its distinctive pale brown dorsal coloration in adult males, relatively large nares, a relatively broad head, mitochondrial sequence divergence, and phylogenetic relationships, and is geographically isolated from other populations of Nototriton.

  16. An enigmatic frog of the genus Atelopus (Family Bufonidae) from Parque Nacional Chirripó, Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Savage, Jay M; Bolaños, Federico

    2009-01-01

    A distinctive new species of Atelopus is described from Parque Nacional Chirrip6 Grande, Cordillera de Talamanca (3,400-3,500 m). It closely resembles populations of the Atelopus ignescens complex from the Andes of northern Ecuador and southern Colombia. It differs most significantly from these frogs in the pattern of spiculae and coni development on the throat, chest, hands and feet. The Costa Rican species appears to be an outlier of the complex inexplicably separated geographically from its nearest allies by an over land distance of about 1,600 km.

  17. Favia Corals: a New Paleoclimate Archive

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, S. J.; Cobb, K. M.; Grothe, P. R.; Chen, T.; Sayani, H. R.; Lynch-Stieglitz, J.; Townsend, K. J.; Edwards, R. L.; Cheng, H.; Lu, Y.; Deocampo, D.

    2015-12-01

    Projections of future climate change contain large uncertainties stemming from our inability to confirm long-term trends in climate models with short instrumental records. Fossil corals are an important archive of past climate changes in the tropical oceans as oxygen isotopic ratios (δ18O) in their skeletons reflect ambient ocean temperature and salinity during the time they grew. In particular, El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a natural phenomenon with a complex array of sensitivities to climate change, rendering any future projections of its variability highly uncertain. The long-term behavior of ENSO and lower-frequency Pacific climate variability is recorded by annually banded fossil corals, providing insight into both natural and anthropogenic climate changes in this under-sampled region (Hughen et al. 1999; Tudhope et al. 2001; Cobb et al. 2003; Cobb et al. 2013). To date, most coral-based reconstructions have utilized cores from the genus Porites, owing its regular, concentric growth bands and fast growth-rates that allow for the generation of up to 20 samples per year of coral growth. However, this genus is neither evenly distributed across the tropics nor continuously available within the fossil record, so there is a pressing need to expand the types of corals available for reconstruction. Here, we test Favia species from Kiritimati Island (2°N, 157°W) as a paleoclimate recorder by comparing different δ18O timeseries from within a single coral as well as across multiple corals with instrumental sea-surface temperature (SST). We find significant and consistent differences between coral δ18O profiles sampled along thecal versus septa walls, and show that δ18O in the thecal wall is more reproducible, and more coherent with SST. Slow growth rates (8-10mm/yr), and small inter-colony δ18O offsets suggest that Favia may be an untapped climate archive that is capable of providing robust constraints on natural climate variability in the tropical

  18. 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.

  19. 1. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    1. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3810) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 GRANADA PLAZA AND GRANADA BOULEVARD - Granada Plaza, Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  20. Symbiont diversity may help coral reefs survive moderate climate change.

    PubMed

    Baskett, Marissa L; Gaines, Steven D; Nisbet, Roger M

    2009-01-01

    Given climate change, thermal stress-related mass coral-bleaching events present one of the greatest anthropogenic threats to coral reefs. While corals and their symbiotic algae may respond to future temperatures through genetic adaptation and shifts in community compositions, the climate may change too rapidly for coral response. To test this potential for response, here we develop a model of coral and symbiont ecological dynamics and symbiont evolutionary dynamics. Model results without variation in symbiont thermal tolerance predict coral reef collapse within decades under multiple future climate scenarios, consistent with previous threshold-based predictions. However, model results with genetic or community-level variation in symbiont thermal tolerance can predict coral reef persistence into the next century, provided low enough greenhouse gas emissions occur. Therefore, the level of greenhouse gas emissions will have a significant effect on the future of coral reefs, and accounting for biodiversity and biological dynamics is vital to estimating the size of this effect.

  1. FEATURE A. CONCRETE ANTIAIRCRAFT GUN POSITION, SHOWING CORAL RUBBLE BERM, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    FEATURE A. CONCRETE ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN POSITION, SHOWING CORAL RUBBLE BERM, VIEW FACING SOUTHEAST. - Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Battery-Anti-Aircraft Gun Position, South of Point Cruz Road & west of Coral Sea Road, Ewa, Honolulu County, HI

  2. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

    Recent work has shown that hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic matter (OM) from algae disrupts the function of the coral holobiont and promotes the invasion of opportunistic pathogens, leading to coral morbidity and mortality. Here we refer to these dynamics as the (3)DAM [dissolved organic matter (DOM), direct contact, disease, algae and microbes] model. There is considerable complexity in coral-algae interactions; turf algae and macroalgae promote heterotrophic microbial overgrowth of coral, macroalgae also directly harm the corals via hydrophobic OM, whereas crustose coralline algae generally encourage benign microbial communities. In addition, complex flow patterns transport OM and pathogens from algae to downstream corals, and direct algal contact enhances their delivery. These invisible players (microbes, viruses, and OM) are important drivers of coral reefs because they have non-linear responses to disturbances and are the first to change in response to perturbations, providing near real-time trajectories for a coral reef, a vital metric for conservation and restoration.

  3. Coral reef formation theory may apply to oil, gas exploration

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1990-12-10

    This paper reports a coral reef formation theory that has implications for hydrocarbon exploration. The theory states that many coral reefs and carbonate buildups from at and are dependent upon nutrient rich fluids seeping through the seabed.

  4. 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.

  5. Comparing Deep-Sea Fish Fauna between Coral and Non-Coral “Megahabitats” in the Santa Maria di Leuca Cold-Water Coral Province (Mediterranean Sea)

    PubMed Central

    D'Onghia, Gianfranco; Maiorano, Porzia; Carlucci, Roberto; Capezzuto, Francesca; Carluccio, Angela; Tursi, Angelo; Sion, Letizia

    2012-01-01

    Two experimental longline surveys were carried out in the Santa Maria di Leuca (SML) cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea) during May–June and September–October 2010 to investigate the effect of corals on fish assemblages. Two types of “megahabitat” characterized by the virtual absence of fishing were explored. One was characterized by complex topography including mesohabitats with carbonate mounds and corals. The other type of megahabitat, although characterized by complex topographic features, lacks carbonate mounds and corals. The fishing vessel was equipped with a 3,000 m monofilament longline with 500 hooks and snoods of 2.5 m in length. A total of 9 hauls, using about 4,500 hooks, were carried out both in the coral megahabitat and in the non-coral megahabitat during each survey. The fish Leucoraja fullonica and Pteroplatytrygon violacea represent new records for the SML coral province. The coral by-catch was only obtained in the coral megahabitat in about 55% of the stations investigated in both surveys. The total catches and the abundance indices of several species were comparable between the two habitat typologies. The species contributing most to the dissimilarity between the two megahabitat fish assemblages were Pagellus bogaraveo, Galeus melastomus, Etmopterus spinax and Helicolenus dactylopterus for density and P. bogaraveo, Conger conger, Polyprion americanus and G. melastomus for biomass. P. bogaraveo was exclusively collected in the coral megahabitat, whereas C. conger, H. dactylopterus and P. americanus were found with greater abundance in the coral than in the non-coral megahabitat. Differences in the sizes between the two megahabitats were detected in E. spinax, G. melastomus, C. conger and H. dactylopterus. Although these differences most probably related to the presence-absence of corals, both megahabitats investigated play the role of attraction-refuge for deep-sea fish fauna, confirming the important role of the whole SML coral

  6. Comparing deep-sea fish fauna between coral and non-coral "megahabitats" in the Santa Maria di Leuca cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea).

    PubMed

    D'Onghia, Gianfranco; Maiorano, Porzia; Carlucci, Roberto; Capezzuto, Francesca; Carluccio, Angela; Tursi, Angelo; Sion, Letizia

    2012-01-01

    Two experimental longline surveys were carried out in the Santa Maria di Leuca (SML) cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea) during May-June and September-October 2010 to investigate the effect of corals on fish assemblages. Two types of "megahabitat" characterized by the virtual absence of fishing were explored. One was characterized by complex topography including mesohabitats with carbonate mounds and corals. The other type of megahabitat, although characterized by complex topographic features, lacks carbonate mounds and corals. The fishing vessel was equipped with a 3,000 m monofilament longline with 500 hooks and snoods of 2.5 m in length. A total of 9 hauls, using about 4,500 hooks, were carried out both in the coral megahabitat and in the non-coral megahabitat during each survey. The fish Leucoraja fullonica and Pteroplatytrygon violacea represent new records for the SML coral province. The coral by-catch was only obtained in the coral megahabitat in about 55% of the stations investigated in both surveys. The total catches and the abundance indices of several species were comparable between the two habitat typologies. The species contributing most to the dissimilarity between the two megahabitat fish assemblages were Pagellus bogaraveo, Galeus melastomus, Etmopterus spinax and Helicolenus dactylopterus for density and P. bogaraveo, Conger conger, Polyprion americanus and G. melastomus for biomass. P. bogaraveo was exclusively collected in the coral megahabitat, whereas C. conger, H. dactylopterus and P. americanus were found with greater abundance in the coral than in the non-coral megahabitat. Differences in the sizes between the two megahabitats were detected in E. spinax, G. melastomus, C. conger and H. dactylopterus. Although these differences most probably related to the presence-absence of corals, both megahabitats investigated play the role of attraction-refuge for deep-sea fish fauna, confirming the important role of the whole SML coral

  7. The phlebotomine sand flies fauna in Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    PubMed

    de Souza, Cristian Ferreira; Brazil, Reginaldo Peçanha; Bevilacqua, Paula Dias; Andrade Filho, Jose Dilermando

    2015-12-02

    Phlebotomine sand flies are dipterans of the family Psychodidae. They are very important to veterinary medicine because some species are vectors of infective forms of Leishmania spp., the etiological agents of leishmaniasis. The Parque Estadual do Rio Doce is located in an area with constant reports of cases of leishmaniasis. In order to better understanding the phlebotamine sand fly fauna of the park, the present work was undertaken with the goal of analyzing phlebotomine sand flies collected there, verifying their seasonality and correlating their presence with forest and/or anthropic areas. To analyze the fauna of phlebotomine sand flies, HP-type, model CDC light traps were distributed along the Juquita trail of PERD. Twelve traps were installed between September 2012 and February 2014, and captured specimens were identified to species. A total of 1993 phlebotomine sand flies of 30 species were captured. The most abundant species were Pressatia choti, Psychodopygus davisi and Nyssomyia intermedia. The high number of Nyssomyia intermedia captured drew attention because they are considered one of the vectors of the infective Leishmania braziliensis present at PERD. No seasonality was observed in the occurrence of phlebotomine sand flies captured at PERD. The number of captured specimens of vector species, and the distance of traps from the forest boarder, were negatively correlated, showing that these vectors (Nyssomyia intermedia, Nyssomyia whitmani and Migonemyia migonei) were less common inside the forest area and that attention should be drawn to other potential vector species in the forest. These results can contribute to leishmaniasis prevention strategies directed at the visitors and professionals at or near PERD. The finding of the presence of Leishmania vectors in the park area must be given attention, since disease transmission can threaten people who visit PERD and its surroundings. Therefore, information on the prevention of leishmaniasis needs to be

  8. Abundance and species richness of Coreoidea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) from Parque Estadual do Turvo, Southern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Barcellos, Aline; Schmidt, Letícia S; Brailovsky, Harry

    2008-01-01

    The coreoid fauna from Neotropics is poorly known, especially in terms of community studies. Aiming at contributing to this knowledge, a two-year study was carried out at Parque Estadual do Turvo, Municipality of Derrubadas, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to evaluate the composition, abundance and species richness of Coreoidea. Samplings were conducted in the springs of 2003 and 2004 (October), and autumns of 2004 and 2005 (May), using beating tray method, along two trails of the park. Sampling effort (hours X collectors) totaled 153h. A total of 282 individuals of Coreoidea were collected, distributed in 28 species of Alydidae, Coreidae and Rhopalidae. The most abundant species was the coreid Cebrenis supina Brailovsky, representing 16% of the collected individuals, followed by the rhopalids Jadera aeola (Dallas), and Harmostes sp., with 12.1% and 11.7%, respectively. The estimated richnesses by Chao 1, Chao 2, Jackknife 1 and Jackknife 2 indicated that the observed richness corresponds to 70% to 80% of the expected for the area. The estimated richness through rarefaction was significantly higher in spring 2003 and autumn 2004 than in the other periods. There was no significant difference, however, between spring of 2003 and autumn of 2004, and between spring of 2004 and autumn of 2005, for the same parameter. Yucumã and Garcia trails did not differ significantly for the estimated richness. Singletons and doubletons represented 32.1% of the recorded species. Additionally, eight other species were obtained qualitatively by using, besides beating tray without protocol, manual collection.

  9. Corals Form Characteristic Associations with Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22344646

  10. Destruction of Pacific Corals by the Sea Star Acanthaster planci.

    PubMed

    Chesher, R H

    1969-07-18

    Acanthaster planci, a coral predator, is undergoing a population explosion in many areas of the Pacific Ocean. Data on feeding rates, population movements, and stages of infestation were collected along coral reefs of Guam and Palau. Direct observations on destruction of Guam's coral reefs indicate that narrow, fringing reefs may be killed as rapidly as 1 kilometer per month. In a 2(1/2)-year period, 90 percent of the coral was killed along 38 kilometers of Guam's shoreline.

  11. Distinguishing between Microbial Habitats Unravels Ecological Complexity in Coral Microbiomes

    PubMed Central

    Weber, Laura G.; Santoro, Alyson E.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The diverse prokaryotic communities associated with reef-building corals may provide important ecological advantages to their threatened hosts. The consistency of relationships between corals and specific prokaryotes, however, is debated, and the locations where microbially mediated processes occur in the host are not resolved. Here, we examined how the prokaryotic associates of five common Caribbean corals with different evolutionary and ecological traits differ across mucus and tissue habitats. We used physical and chemical separation of coral mucus and tissue and sequencing of partial small-subunit rRNA genes of bacteria and archaea from these samples to demonstrate that coral tissue and mucus harbor unique reservoirs of prokaryotes, with 23 to 49% and 31 to 56% of sequences exclusive to the tissue and mucus habitats, respectively. Across all coral species, we found that 46 tissue- and 22 mucus-specific microbial members consistently associated with the different habitats. Sequences classifying as “Candidatus Amoebophilus,” Bacteroidetes-affiliated intracellular symbionts of amoebae, emerged as previously unrecognized tissue associates of three coral species. This study demonstrates how coral habitat differentiation enables highly resolved examination of ecological interactions between corals and their associated microorganisms and identifies previously unrecognized tissue and mucus associates of Caribbean corals for future targeted study. IMPORTANCE This study demonstrates that coral tissue or mucus habitats structure the microbiome of corals and that separation of these habitats facilitates identification of consistent microbial associates. Using this approach, we demonstrated that sequences related to “Candidatus Amoebophilus,” recognized intracellular symbionts of amoebae, were highly associated with the tissues of Caribbean corals and possibly endosymbionts of a protistan host within corals, adding a further degree of intricacy to coral

  12. Hyperspectral and Physiological Analyses of Coral-Algal Interactions

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Benefit of pulsation in soft corals.

    PubMed

    Kremien, Maya; Shavit, Uri; Mass, Tali; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-05-28

    Soft corals of the family Xeniidae exhibit a unique, rhythmic pulsation of their tentacles (Movie S1), first noted by Lamarck nearly 200 y ago. However, the adaptive benefit of this perpetual, energetically costly motion is poorly understood. Using in situ underwater particle image velocimetry, we found that the pulsation motions thrust water upward and enhance mixing across the coral-water boundary layer. The induced upward motion effectively prevents refiltration of water by neighboring polyps, while the intensification of mixing, together with the upward flow, greatly enhances the coral's photosynthesis. A series of controlled laboratory experiments with the common xeniid coral Heteroxenia fuscescens showed that the net photosynthesis rate during pulsation was up to an order of magnitude higher than during the coral's resting, nonpulsating state. This enhancement diminished when the concentration of oxygen in the ambient water was artificially raised, indicating that the enhancement of photosynthesis was due to a greater efflux of oxygen from the coral tissues. By lowering the internal oxygen concentration, pulsation alleviates the problem of reduced affinity of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (RuBisCO) to CO2 under conditions of high oxygen concentrations. The photosynthesis-respiration ratio of the pulsating H. fuscescens was markedly higher than the ratios reported for nonpulsating soft and stony corals. Although pulsation is commonly used for locomotion and filtration in marine mobile animals, its occurrence in sessile (bottom-attached) species is limited to members of the ancient phylum Cnidaria, where it is used to accelerate water and enhance physiological processes.

  15. Fluctuations in coral health of four common inshore reef corals in response to seasonal and anthropogenic changes in water quality.

    PubMed

    Browne, Nicola K; Tay, Jason K L; Low, Jeffrey; Larson, Ole; Todd, Peter A

    2015-04-01

    Environmental drivers of coral condition (maximum quantum yield, symbiont density, chlorophyll a content and coral skeletal growth rates) were assessed in the equatorial inshore coastal waters of Singapore, where the amplitude of seasonal variation is low, but anthropogenic influence is relatively high. Water quality variables (sediments, nutrients, trace metals, temperature, light) explained between 52 and 83% of the variation in coral condition, with sediments and light availability as key drivers of foliose corals (Merulina ampliata, Pachyseris speciosa), and temperature exerting a greater influence on a branching coral (Pocillopora damicornis). Seasonal reductions in water quality led to high chlorophyll a concentrations and maximum quantum yields in corals, but low growth rates. These marginal coral communities are potentially vulnerable to climate change, hence, we propose water quality thresholds for coral growth with the aim of mitigating both local and global environmental impacts.

  16. Coral feeding on microalgae assessed with molecular trophic markers.

    PubMed

    Leal, Miguel C; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Calado, Ricardo; Thompson, Megan E; Frischer, Marc E; Nejstgaard, Jens C

    2014-08-01

    Herbivory in corals, especially for symbiotic species, remains controversial. To investigate the capacity of scleractinian and soft corals to capture microalgae, we conducted controlled laboratory experiments offering five algal species: the cryptophyte Rhodomonas marina, the haptophytes Isochrysis galbana and Phaeocystis globosa, and the diatoms Conticribra weissflogii and Thalassiosira pseudonana. Coral species included the symbiotic soft corals Heteroxenia fuscescens and Sinularia flexibilis, the asymbiotic scleractinian coral Tubastrea coccinea, and the symbiotic scleractinian corals Stylophora pistillata, Pavona cactus and Oculina arbuscula. Herbivory was assessed by end-point PCR amplification of algae-specific 18S rRNA gene fragments purified from coral tissue genomic DNA extracts. The ability to capture microalgae varied with coral and algal species and could not be explained by prey size or taxonomy. Herbivory was not detected in S. flexibilis and S. pistillata. P. globosa was the only algal prey that was never captured by any coral. Although predation defence mechanisms have been shown for Phaeocystis spp. against many potential predators, this study is the first to suggest this for corals. This study provides new insights into herbivory in symbiotic corals and suggests that corals may be selective herbivorous feeders. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. 10. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    10. Photocopy of Photograph (original print in the Coral Gables Public Library, Fishbaugh Collection, M 3109) Photographer unknown, 1923-25 COLUMBUS PLAZA, COLUMBUS STREET AND INDIAN MOUNTAIN TRAIL - Coral Gables (Entrances, Streets, Gates, & Squares), Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, FL

  18. 43 CFR 9266.4 - Viable coral communities.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 43 Public Lands: Interior 2 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Viable coral communities. 9266.4 Section... § 9266.4 Viable coral communities. (a) Requirement for a permit. No person shall engage in any operation which directly causes damage or injury to a viable coral community that is located on the Outer...

  19. 43 CFR 9266.4 - Viable coral communities.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 43 Public Lands: Interior 2 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Viable coral communities. 9266.4 Section... § 9266.4 Viable coral communities. (a) Requirement for a permit. No person shall engage in any operation which directly causes damage or injury to a viable coral community that is located on the Outer...

  20. 43 CFR 9266.4 - Viable coral communities.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 43 Public Lands: Interior 2 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Viable coral communities. 9266.4 Section... § 9266.4 Viable coral communities. (a) Requirement for a permit. No person shall engage in any operation which directly causes damage or injury to a viable coral community that is located on the Outer...

  1. 43 CFR 9266.4 - Viable coral communities.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 43 Public Lands: Interior 2 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Viable coral communities. 9266.4 Section... § 9266.4 Viable coral communities. (a) Requirement for a permit. No person shall engage in any operation which directly causes damage or injury to a viable coral community that is located on the Outer...

  2. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  3. Light gradients and optical microniches in coral tissues

    PubMed Central

    Wangpraseurt, Daniel; Larkum, Anthony W. D.; Ralph, Peter J.; Kühl, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Light quantity and quality are among the most important factors determining the physiology and stress response of zooxanthellate corals. Yet, almost nothing is known about the light field that Symbiodinium experiences within their coral host, and the basic optical properties of coral tissue are unknown. We used scalar irradiance microprobes to characterize vertical and lateral light gradients within and across tissues of several coral species. Our results revealed the presence of steep light gradients with photosynthetically available radiation decreasing by about one order of magnitude from the tissue surface to the coral skeleton. Surface scalar irradiance was consistently higher over polyp tissue than over coenosarc tissue in faviid corals. Coral bleaching increased surface scalar irradiance by ~150% (between 500 and 700 nm) relative to a healthy coral. Photosynthesis peaked around 300 μm within the tissue, which corresponded to a zone exhibiting strongest depletion of scalar irradiance. Deeper coral tissue layers, e.g., ~1000 μm into aboral polyp tissues, harbor optical microniches, where only ~10% of the incident irradiance remains. We conclude that the optical microenvironment of corals exhibits strong lateral and vertical gradients of scalar irradiance, which are affected by both tissue and skeleton optical properties. Our results imply that zooxanthellae populations inhabit a strongly heterogeneous light environment and highlight the presence of different optical microniches in corals; an important finding for understanding the photobiology, stress response, as well as the phenotypic and genotypic plasticity of coral symbionts. PMID:22969755

  4. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1990-04-01

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

  6. Unprecedented Disease-Related Coral Mortality in Southeastern Florida

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, S. K.; Dolman, A. M.; Cheal, A. J.; Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Sweatman, H. P. A.

    2009-03-01

    Habitat perturbations play a major role in shaping community structure; however, the elements of disturbance-related habitat change that affect diversity are not always apparent. This study examined the effects of habitat disturbances on species richness of coral reef fish assemblages using annual surveys of habitat and 210 fish species from 10 reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Over a period of 11 years, major disturbances, including localised outbreaks of crown-of-thorns sea star ( Acanthaster planci), severe storms or coral bleaching, resulted in coral decline of 46-96% in all the 10 reefs. Despite declines in coral cover, structural complexity of the reef framework was retained on five and species richness of coral reef fishes maintained on nine of the disturbed reefs. Extensive loss of coral resulted in localised declines of highly specialised coral-dependent species, but this loss of diversity was more than compensated for by increases in the number of species that feed on the epilithic algal matrix (EAM). A unimodal relationship between areal coral cover and species richness indicated species richness was greatest at approximately 20% coral cover declining by 3-4 species (6-8% of average richness) at higher and lower coral cover. Results revealed that declines in coral cover on reefs may have limited short-term impact on the diversity of coral reef fishes, though there may be fundamental changes in the community structure of fishes.

  8. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  9. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  10. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-11-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef... of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task.../uscrtf-registration-form . Commenters may address the meeting, the role of the USCRTF, or general...

  11. 50 CFR 665.270 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.270 Section 665.270 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.270 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  12. 50 CFR 665.270 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.270 Section 665.270 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.270 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  13. 50 CFR 665.270 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.270 Section 665.270 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.270 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  14. 50 CFR 665.169 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.169 Section 665.169 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.169 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  15. 50 CFR 665.169 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.169 Section 665.169 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.169 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  16. 50 CFR 665.169 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.169 Section 665.169 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.169 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  17. 50 CFR 665.270 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.270 Section 665.270 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.270 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  18. 50 CFR 665.169 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.169 Section 665.169 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.169 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  19. 50 CFR 665.169 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.169 Section 665.169 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.169 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  20. 50 CFR 665.270 - Gold coral harvest moratorium.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Gold coral harvest moratorium. 665.270 Section 665.270 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Fisheries § 665.270 Gold coral harvest moratorium. Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in...

  1. Unprecedented Disease-Related Coral Mortality in Southeastern Florida

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  2. Parque Astronómico de Atacama: An Ideal Site for Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Mid-Infrared Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bustos, R.; Rubio, M.; Otárola, A.; Nagar, N.

    2014-12-01

    The area of Chajnantor, at more than 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile, offers unique atmospheric and operational conditions which arguably make it the best site in the world for millimeter, submillimeter, and mid-infrared observatories. Long-term monitoring of the precipitable water vapor (PWV) column on the Chajnantor plateau has shown its extreme dryness with annual median values of 1.1 mm. Simultaneous measurements of PWV on the Chajnantor plateau (5050 m) and on Cerro Chajnantor (5612 m) show that the latter is around 36% lower under normal atmospheric conditions and up to 80% lower than the plateau in the presence of temperature inversion layers. Recently, the Government of Chile has consolidated the creation of the Parque Astron\\'omico de Atacama (Atacama Astronomical Park), an initiative of the Chilean Commission for Science and Technology (CONICYT). This new Parque offers an opportunity for national and international projects to settle within its boundaries, gain access to an extremely dry site that is suitable for observations over a broad spectral range, especially in the millimeter to mid-infrared wavelengths, and benefit from operational and logistical support within a secure legal framework.

  3. Thermal Stress and Coral Cover as Drivers of Coral Disease Outbreaks

    PubMed Central

    Bruno, John F; Selig, Elizabeth R; Casey, Kenneth S; Page, Cathie A; Willis, Bette L; Harvell, C. Drew; Sweatman, Hugh; Melendy, Amy M

    2007-01-01

    Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef-building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (>50%) cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant. PMID:17488183

  4. Elevated Temperature and Allelopathy Impact Coral Recruitment

    PubMed Central

    Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Ross, Cliff; Paul, Valerie J.

    2016-01-01

    As climate change continues to alter seawater temperature and chemistry on a global scale, coral reefs show multiple signs of degradation. One natural process that could facilitate the recovery of reef ecosystems is coral recruitment, which can be influenced by the benthic organisms in a local habitat. We experimentally tested both a global stressor (increased seawater temperature) and a local stressor (exposure to microcolin A, a natural product from a common marine benthic cyanobacterium) to determine how these stressors impacted coral larval sublethal stress, survival and settlement. Larvae of Porites astreoides had the same survival and settlement as the controls after exposure to increased temperature alone, but elevated temperature did cause oxidative stress. When exposed to natural concentrations of microcolin A, larval survival and settlement were significantly reduced. When larvae were exposed to these two stressors sequentially there was no interactive effect; but when exposed to both stressors simultaneously, there was a synergistic reduction in larval survival and an increase in oxidative stress more than in either stressor treatment alone. Increased seawater temperatures made larvae more susceptible to a concurrent local stressor disrupting a key process of coral reef recovery and resilience. These results highlight the importance of understanding how interactive stressors of varying spatial scales can impact coral demographics. PMID:27926916

  5. Systematically describing gross lesions in corals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, T.; Aeby, G.

    2006-01-01

    Many coral diseases are characterized based on gross descriptions and, given the lack or difficulty of applying existing laboratory tools to understanding causes of coral diseases, most new diseases will continued to be described based on appearance in the field. Unfortunately, many existing descriptions of coral disease are ambiguous or open to subjective interpretation, making comparisons between oceans problematic. One reason for this is that the process of describing lesions is often confused with that of assigning causality for the lesion. However, causality is usually something not obtained in the field and requires additional laboratory tests. Because a concise and objective morphologic description provides the foundation for a case definition of any disease, there is a need for a consistent and standardized process to describe lesions of corals that focuses on morphology. We provide a framework to systematically describe and name diseases in corals involving 4 steps: (1) naming the disease, (2) describing the lesion, (3) formulating a morphologic diagnosis and (4) formulating an etiologic diagnosis. This process focuses field investigators on describing what they see and separates the process of describing a lesion from that of inferring causality, the latter being more appropriately done using laboratory techniques.

  6. Elevated Temperature and Allelopathy Impact Coral Recruitment.

    PubMed

    Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Ross, Cliff; Paul, Valerie J

    2016-01-01

    As climate change continues to alter seawater temperature and chemistry on a global scale, coral reefs show multiple signs of degradation. One natural process that could facilitate the recovery of reef ecosystems is coral recruitment, which can be influenced by the benthic organisms in a local habitat. We experimentally tested both a global stressor (increased seawater temperature) and a local stressor (exposure to microcolin A, a natural product from a common marine benthic cyanobacterium) to determine how these stressors impacted coral larval sublethal stress, survival and settlement. Larvae of Porites astreoides had the same survival and settlement as the controls after exposure to increased temperature alone, but elevated temperature did cause oxidative stress. When exposed to natural concentrations of microcolin A, larval survival and settlement were significantly reduced. When larvae were exposed to these two stressors sequentially there was no interactive effect; but when exposed to both stressors simultaneously, there was a synergistic reduction in larval survival and an increase in oxidative stress more than in either stressor treatment alone. Increased seawater temperatures made larvae more susceptible to a concurrent local stressor disrupting a key process of coral reef recovery and resilience. These results highlight the importance of understanding how interactive stressors of varying spatial scales can impact coral demographics.

  7. Coral Skeletons Defend against Ultraviolet Radiation

    PubMed Central

    Reef, Ruth; Kaniewska, Paulina; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2009-01-01

    Background Many coral reef organisms are photosynthetic or have evolved in tight symbiosis with photosynthetic symbionts. As such, the tissues of reef organisms are often exposed to intense solar radiation in clear tropical waters and have adapted to trap and harness photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). High levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) associated with sunlight, however, represent a potential problem in terms of tissue damage. Methodology/Principal Findings By measuring UVR and PAR reflectance from intact and ground bare coral skeletons we show that the property of calcium carbonate skeletons to absorb downwelling UVR to a significant extent, while reflecting PAR back to the overlying tissue, has biological advantages. We placed cnidarians on top of bare skeletons and a UVR reflective substrate and showed that under ambient UVR levels, UVR transmitted through the tissues of cnidarians placed on top of bare skeletons were four times lower compared to their counterparts placed on a UVR reflective white substrate. In accordance with the lower levels of UVR measured in cnidarians on top of coral skeletons, a similar drop in UVR damage to their DNA was detected. The skeletons emitted absorbed UVR as yellow fluorescence, which allows for safe dissipation of the otherwise harmful radiation. Conclusions/Significance Our study presents a novel defensive role for coral skeletons and reveals that the strong UVR absorbance by the skeleton can contribute to the ability of corals, and potentially other calcifiers, to thrive under UVR levels that are detrimental to most marine life. PMID:19946361

  8. Recognizing diversity in coral symbiotic dinoflagellate communities.

    PubMed

    Apprill, Amy M; Gates, Ruth D

    2007-03-01

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

  9. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth) of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

    PubMed Central

    Englebert, Norbert; Bongaerts, Pim; Muir, Paul R.; Hay, Kyra B.; Pichon, Michel; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m), despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60–125 m) at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60–80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213) between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. PMID:28146574

  10. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth) of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.

    PubMed

    Englebert, Norbert; Bongaerts, Pim; Muir, Paul R; Hay, Kyra B; Pichon, Michel; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m), despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60-125 m) at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60-80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213) between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

  11. Mg isotope fractionation in biogenic carbonates of deep-sea coral, benthic foraminifera, and hermatypic coral.

    PubMed

    Yoshimura, Toshihiro; Tanimizu, Masaharu; Inoue, Mayuri; Suzuki, Atsushi; Iwasaki, Nozomu; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2011-11-01

    High-precision Mg isotope measurements by multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were applied for determinations of magnesium isotopic fractionation of biogenic calcium carbonates from seawater with a rapid Mg purification technique. The mean δ(26)Mg values of scleractinian corals, giant clam, benthic foraminifera, and calcite deep-sea corals were -0.87‰, -2.57‰, -2.34‰, and -2.43‰, suggesting preferential precipitation of light Mg isotopes to produce carbonate skeleton in biomineralization. Mg isotope fractionation in deep-sea coral, which has high Mg calcite skeleton, showed a clear temperature (T) dependence from 2.5 °C to 19.5 °C: 1,000 × ln(α) = -2.63 (±0.076) + 0.0138 (±0.0051) × T(R(2) = 0.82, p < 0.01). The δ(26)Mg values of large benthic foraminifera, which are also composed of a high-Mg calcite skeleton, can be plotted on the same regression line as that for deep-sea coral. Since the precipitation rates of deep-sea coral and benthic foraminifera are several orders of magnitude different, the results suggest that kinetic isotope fractionation may not be a major controlling factor for high-Mg calcite. The Mg isotope fractionation factors and the slope of temperature dependence from deep-sea corals and benthic foraminifera are similar to that for an inorganically precipitated calcite speleothem. Taking into account element partitioning and the calcification rate of biogenic CaCO(3), the similarity among inorganic minerals, deep-sea corals, and benthic foraminiferas may indicate a strong mineralogical control on Mg isotope fractionation for high-Mg calcite. On the other hand, δ(26)Mg in hermatypic corals composed of aragonite has been comparable with previous data on biogenic aragonite of coral, sclerosponges, and scaphopad, regardless of species differences of samples.

  12. High coral cover on a mesophotic, subtropical island platform at the limits of coral reef growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linklater, Michelle; Carroll, Andrew G.; Hamylton, Sarah M.; Jordan, Alan R.; Brooke, Brendan P.; Nichol, Scott L.; Woodroffe, Colin D.

    2016-11-01

    Balls Pyramid is a volcanic monolith rising 552 m from the Tasman Sea, 24 km southeast of the Pacific Ocean's southernmost modern coral reef at Lord Howe Island. High resolution seabed mapping of the shelf surrounding Balls Pyramid has revealed an extensive submerged reef structure in 30-50 m water depth, covering an area of 87 km2. Benthic community composition analysis of high-resolution still images revealed abundant scleractinian corals on the submerged reef, extending to a maximum depth of 94 m. Scleractinian coral occurred predominantly in 30-40 m depth where it comprised 13.3% of benthic cover within this depth range. Average scleractinian coral cover for all transects was 6.7±12.2%, with the highest average transect cover of 19.4±14.3% and up to 84% cover recorded for an individual still image. The remaining substrate comprised mixed benthos with veneers of carbonate sand. Benthic data were shown to significantly relate to the underlying geomorphology. BVSTEP analyses identified depth and backscatter as the strongest correlating explanatory variables driving benthic community structure. The prevalence of scleractinian corals on the submerged reef features at Balls Pyramid, and the mesophotic depths to which these corals extend, demonstrates the important role of this subtropical island shelf as habitat for modern coral communities in the southwest Pacific Ocean. As Balls Pyramid is located beyond the known latitudinal limit of coral reef formation, these findings have important implications for potential coral reef range expansion and deep reef refugia under a changing climate.

  13. Gene Expression of Corals in Response to Macroalgal Competitors

    PubMed Central

    Shearer, Tonya L.; Snell, Terry W.; Hay, Mark E.

    2014-01-01

    As corals decline and macroalgae proliferate on coral reefs, coral-macroalgal competition becomes more frequent and ecologically important. Whether corals are damaged by these interactions depends on susceptibility of the coral and traits of macroalgal competitors. Investigating changes in gene expression of corals and their intracellular symbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, in response to contact with different macroalgae provides insight into the biological processes and cellular pathways affected by competition with macroalgae. We evaluated the gene expression profiles of coral and Symbiodinium genes from two confamilial corals, Acropora millepora and Montipora digitata, after 6 h and 48 h of contact with four common macroalgae that differ in their allelopathic potency to corals. Contacts with macroalgae affected different biological pathways in the more susceptible (A. millepora) versus the more resistant (M. digitata) coral. Genes of coral hosts and of their associated Symbiodinium also responded in species-specific and time-specific ways to each macroalga. Changes in number and expression intensity of affected genes were greater after 6 h compared to 48 h of contact and were greater following contact with Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Amphiroa crassa than following contact with Galaxaura filamentosa or Turbinaria conoides. We documented a divergence in transcriptional responses between two confamilial corals and their associated Symbiodinium, as well as a diversity of dynamic responses within each coral species with respect to the species of macroalgal competitor and the duration of exposure to that competitor. These responses included early initiation of immune processes by Montipora, which is more resistant to damage after long-term macroalgal contact. Activation of the immune response by corals that better resist algal competition is consistent with the hypothesis that some macroalgal effects on corals may be mediated by microbial pathogens. PMID:25500576

  14. Macroalgal terpenes function as allelopathic agents against reef corals

    PubMed Central

    Rasher, Douglas B.; Stout, E. Paige; Engel, Sebastian; Kubanek, Julia; Hay, Mark E.

    2011-01-01

    During recent decades, many tropical reefs have transitioned from coral to macroalgal dominance. These community shifts increase the frequency of algal–coral interactions and may suppress coral recovery following both anthropogenic and natural disturbance. However, the extent to which macroalgae damage corals directly, the mechanisms involved, and the species specificity of algal–coral interactions remain uncertain. Here, we conducted field experiments demonstrating that numerous macroalgae directly damage corals by transfer of hydrophobic allelochemicals present on algal surfaces. These hydrophobic compounds caused bleaching, decreased photosynthesis, and occasionally death of corals in 79% of the 24 interactions assayed (three corals and eight algae). Coral damage generally was limited to sites of algal contact, but algae were unaffected by contact with corals. Artificial mimics for shading and abrasion produced no impact on corals, and effects of hydrophobic surface extracts from macroalgae paralleled effects of whole algae; both findings suggest that local effects are generated by allelochemical rather than physical mechanisms. Rankings of macroalgae from most to least allelopathic were similar across the three coral genera tested. However, corals varied markedly in susceptibility to allelopathic algae, with globally declining corals such as Acropora more strongly affected. Bioassay-guided fractionation of extracts from two allelopathic algae led to identification of two loliolide derivatives from the red alga Galaxaura filamentosa and two acetylated diterpenes from the green alga Chlorodesmis fastigiata as potent allelochemicals. Our results highlight a newly demonstrated but potentially widespread competitive mechanism to help explain the lack of coral recovery on many present-day reefs. PMID:22006333

  15. Predicting the risk of coral disease outbreak using satellite SST.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heron, S. F.; Willis, B. L.; Skirving, W. J.; Page, C. A.; Eakin, C. M.; Miller, I. R.; Christensen, T. R.; Gledhill, D. K.; Liu, G.; Morgan, J. A.; Parker, B. A.; Strong, A. E.

    2009-05-01

    Several environmental parameters have been linked to outbreaks of coral disease. Here we describe the influence of remotely-sensed summer and winter temperatures, as well as local observations of coral cover, to predict the risk of White Syndrome disease outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral disease is an emerging risk to coral reef ecosystems that is likely to escalate with ocean warming due to climate change. The aim of this work is to provide reef managers with an expert system for predicting disease risk on coral reefs as far as six months in advance of summer outbreaks.

  16. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    PubMed Central

    Ziegler, Maren; Seneca, Francois O.; Yum, Lauren K.; Palumbi, Stephen R.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked. PMID:28186132

  17. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance.

    PubMed

    Ziegler, Maren; Seneca, Francois O; Yum, Lauren K; Palumbi, Stephen R; Voolstra, Christian R

    2017-02-10

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  18. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziegler, Maren; Seneca, Francois O.; Yum, Lauren K.; Palumbi, Stephen R.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-02-01

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  19. High Macroalgal Cover and Low Coral Recruitment Undermines the Potential Resilience of the World's Southernmost Coral Reef Assemblages

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32′S, 159°04′E), the worlds' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment), and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4%) and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%). Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m−2), however, were 5–200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha−1), and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1%) with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances. PMID:21991366

  20. Microbial bioenergetics of coral-algal interactions

    PubMed Central

    Abieri, Maria L.; George, Emma E.; Knowles, Ben; Naliboff, Douglas S.; Smurthwaite, Cameron A.; Kelly, Linda Wegley; Haas, Andreas F.

    2017-01-01

    Human impacts are causing ecosystem phase shifts from coral- to algal-dominated reef systems on a global scale. As these ecosystems undergo transition, there is an increased incidence of coral-macroalgal interactions. Mounting evidence indicates that the outcome of these interaction events is, in part, governed by microbially mediated dynamics. The allocation of available energy through different trophic levels, including the microbial food web, determines the outcome of these interactions and ultimately shapes the benthic community structure. However, little is known about the underlying thermodynamic mechanisms involved in these trophic energy transfers. This study utilizes a novel combination of methods including calorimetry, flow cytometry, and optical oxygen measurements, to provide a bioenergetic analysis of coral-macroalgal interactions in a controlled aquarium setting. We demonstrate that the energetic demands of microbial communities at the coral-algal interaction interface are higher than in the communities associated with either of the macroorganisms alone. This was evident through higher microbial power output (energy use per unit time) and lower oxygen concentrations at interaction zones compared to areas distal from the interface. Increases in microbial power output and lower oxygen concentrations were significantly correlated with the ratio of heterotrophic to autotrophic microbes but not the total microbial abundance. These results suggest that coral-algal interfaces harbor higher proportions of heterotrophic microbes that are optimizing maximal power output, as opposed to yield. This yield to power shift offers a possible thermodynamic mechanism underlying the transition from coral- to algal-dominated reef ecosystems currently being observed worldwide. As changes in the power output of an ecosystem are a significant indicator of the current state of the system, this analysis provides a novel and insightful means to quantify microbial impacts on

  1. Microbial bioenergetics of coral-algal interactions.

    PubMed

    Roach, Ty N F; Abieri, Maria L; George, Emma E; Knowles, Ben; Naliboff, Douglas S; Smurthwaite, Cameron A; Kelly, Linda Wegley; Haas, Andreas F; Rohwer, Forest L

    2017-01-01

    Human impacts are causing ecosystem phase shifts from coral- to algal-dominated reef systems on a global scale. As these ecosystems undergo transition, there is an increased incidence of coral-macroalgal interactions. Mounting evidence indicates that the outcome of these interaction events is, in part, governed by microbially mediated dynamics. The allocation of available energy through different trophic levels, including the microbial food web, determines the outcome of these interactions and ultimately shapes the benthic community structure. However, little is known about the underlying thermodynamic mechanisms involved in these trophic energy transfers. This study utilizes a novel combination of methods including calorimetry, flow cytometry, and optical oxygen measurements, to provide a bioenergetic analysis of coral-macroalgal interactions in a controlled aquarium setting. We demonstrate that the energetic demands of microbial communities at the coral-algal interaction interface are higher than in the communities associated with either of the macroorganisms alone. This was evident through higher microbial power output (energy use per unit time) and lower oxygen concentrations at interaction zones compared to areas distal from the interface. Increases in microbial power output and lower oxygen concentrations were significantly correlated with the ratio of heterotrophic to autotrophic microbes but not the total microbial abundance. These results suggest that coral-algal interfaces harbor higher proportions of heterotrophic microbes that are optimizing maximal power output, as opposed to yield. This yield to power shift offers a possible thermodynamic mechanism underlying the transition from coral- to algal-dominated reef ecosystems currently being observed worldwide. As changes in the power output of an ecosystem are a significant indicator of the current state of the system, this analysis provides a novel and insightful means to quantify microbial impacts on

  2. Symbiotic crabs maintain coral health by clearing sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stewart, Hannah L.; Holbrook, Sally J.; Schmitt, Russell J.; Brooks, Andrew J.

    2006-11-01

    Stony corals are the foundation of coral reef ecosystems and form associations with other reef species. Many of these associations may be ecologically important and play a role in maintaining the health and diversity of reef systems, rendering it critical to understand the influence of symbiotic organisms in mediating responses to perturbation. This study demonstrates the importance of an association with trapeziid crabs in reducing adverse effects of sediments deposited on corals. In a field experiment, mortality rates of two species of branching corals were significantly lowered by the presence of crabs. All outplanted corals with crabs survived whereas 45-80% of corals without crabs died within a month. For surviving corals that lacked crabs, growth was slower and tissue bleaching and sediment load were higher. Laboratory experiments revealed that corals with crabs shed substantially more of the sediments deposited on coral surfaces, but also that crabs were most effective at removing grain sizes that were most damaging to coral tissues. The mechanism underlying this symbiotic relationship has not been recognized previously, and its role in maintaining coral health is likely to become even more critical as reefs worldwide experience increasing sedimentation.

  3. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

    The community structure of sedentary organisms is largely controlled by the outcome of direct competition for space. Understanding factors defining competitive outcomes among neighbors is thus critical for predicting large-scale changes, such as transitions to alternate states within coral reefs. Using a spatially explicit model, we explored the importance of variation in two spatial properties in benthic dynamics on coral reefs: (1) patterns of herbivory are spatially distinct between fishes and sea urchins and (2) there is wide variation in the areal extent into which different coral species can expand. We reveal that the size-specific, competitive asymmetry of corals versus fleshy algae highlights the significance of spatial patterning of herbivory and of coral growth. Spatial dynamics that alter the demographic importance of coral recruitment and maturation have profound effects on the emergent structure of the reef benthic community. Spatially constrained herbivory (as by sea urchins) is more effective than spatially unconstrained herbivory (as by many fish) at opening space for the time needed for corals to settle and to recruit to the adult population. Further, spatially unconstrained coral growth (as by many branching coral species) reduces the number of recruitment events needed to fill a habitat with coral relative to more spatially constrained growth (as by many massive species). Our model predicts that widespread mortality of branching corals (e.g., Acropora spp) and herbivorous sea urchins (particularly Diadema antillarum) in the Caribbean has greatly reduced the potential for restoration across the region.

  4. Shifting paradigms in restoration of the world's coral reefs.

    PubMed

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D; Blackall, Linda L; Cantin, Neal; Chakravarti, Leela J; Chan, Wing Y; Cormick, Craig; Crean, Angela; Damjanovic, Katarina; Epstein, Hannah; Harrison, Peter L; Jones, Thomas A; Miller, Margaret; Pears, Rachel J; Peplow, Lesa M; Raftos, David A; Schaffelke, Britta; Stewart, Kristen; Torda, Gergely; Wachenfeld, David; Weeks, Andrew R; Putnam, Hollie M

    2017-03-01

    Many ecosystems around the world are rapidly deteriorating due to both local and global pressures, and perhaps none so precipitously as coral reefs. Management of coral reefs through maintenance (e.g., marine-protected areas, catchment management to improve water quality), restoration, as well as global and national governmental agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., the 2015 Paris Agreement) is critical for the persistence of coral reefs. Despite these initiatives, the health and abundance of corals reefs are rapidly declining and other solutions will soon be required. We have recently discussed options for using assisted evolution (i.e., selective breeding, assisted gene flow, conditioning or epigenetic programming, and the manipulation of the coral microbiome) as a means to enhance environmental stress tolerance of corals and the success of coral reef restoration efforts. The 2014-2016 global coral bleaching event has sharpened the focus on such interventionist approaches. We highlight the necessity for consideration of alternative (e.g., hybrid) ecosystem states, discuss traits of resilient corals and coral reef ecosystems, and propose a decision tree for incorporating assisted evolution into restoration initiatives to enhance climate resilience of coral reefs.

  5. Dynamic stability of coral reefs on the west Australian coast.

    PubMed

    Speed, Conrad W; Babcock, Russ C; Bancroft, Kevin P; Beckley, Lynnath E; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Depczynski, Martial; Field, Stuart N; Friedman, Kim J; Gilmour, James P; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Kobryn, Halina T; Moore, James A Y; Nutt, Christopher D; Shedrawi, George; Thomson, Damian P; Wilson, Shaun K

    2013-01-01

    Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs.

  6. Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast

    PubMed Central

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ C.; Bancroft, Kevin P.; Beckley, Lynnath E.; Bellchambers, Lynda M.; Depczynski, Martial; Field, Stuart N.; Friedman, Kim J.; Gilmour, James P.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Kobryn, Halina T.; Moore, James A. Y.; Nutt, Christopher D.; Shedrawi, George; Thomson, Damian P.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2013-01-01

    Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10–35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs. PMID:23922829

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  9. Bacterial acquisition in juveniles of several broadcast spawning coral species.

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-28

    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.

  10. Cold-water coral banks and submarine landslides: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Mol, Ben; Huvenne, Veerle; Canals, Miquel

    2009-06-01

    This paper aims to review the relation between cold-water coral bank development and submarine landslides. Both are common features on continental margins, but so far it has not been reviewed which effect—if at all—they may have upon each other. Indirect and direct relations between coral banks and landslides are evaluated here, based on four case studies: the Magellan Mound Province in the Porcupine Seabight, where fossil coral banks appear partly on top of a buried slide deposit; the Sula Ridge Reef Complex and the Storegga landslide both off mid-Norway; and the Mauritania coral bank province, associated with the Mauritanian Slide Complex. For each of these locations, positive and negative relationships between both features are discussed, based on available datasets. Locally submarine landslides might directly favour coral bank development by creating substratum where corals can settle on, enhancing turbulence due to abrupt seabed morphological variations and, in some cases, causing fluid seepage. In turn, some of these processes may contribute to increased food availability and lower sedimentation rates. Landslides can also affect coral bank development by direct erosion of the coral banks, and by the instantaneous increase of turbidity, which may smother the corals. On the other hand, coral banks might have a stabilising function and delay or stop the headwall retrogradation of submarine landslides. Although local relationships can be deduced from these case studies, no general and direct relationship exists between submarine landslides and cold-water coral banks.

  11. Life histories predict coral community disassembly under multiple stressors.

    PubMed

    Darling, Emily S; McClanahan, Timothy R; Côté, Isabelle M

    2013-06-01

    Climate change is reshaping biological communities against a background of existing human pressure. Evaluating the impacts of multiple stressors on community dynamics can be particularly challenging in species-rich ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Here, we investigate whether life-history strategies and cotolerance to different stressors can predict community responses to fishing and temperature-driven bleaching using a 20-year time series of coral assemblages in Kenya. We found that the initial life-history composition of coral taxa largely determined the impacts of bleaching and coral loss. Prior to the 1998 bleaching event, coral assemblages within no-take marine reserves were composed of three distinct life histories - competitive, stress-tolerant and weedy- and exhibited strong declines following bleaching with limited subsequent recovery. In contrast, fished reefs had lower coral cover, fewer genera and were composed of stress-tolerant and weedy corals that were less affected by bleaching over the long term. Despite these general patterns, we found limited evidence for cotolerance as coral genera and life histories were variable in their sensitivities to fishing and bleaching. Overall, fishing and bleaching have reduced coral diversity and led to altered coral communities of 'survivor' species with stress-tolerant and weedy life histories. Our findings are consistent with expectations that climate change interacting with existing human pressure will result in the loss of coral diversity and critical reef habitat. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Improved zircon iron corals for the 1990s

    SciTech Connect

    Decker, C. )

    1992-03-01

    CIBA-GEIGY/Drakenfeld Colors is dedicated to the research and development of consistent and cost-effective ceramic stains for the whitewares industry. After identifying the trends in color for the 1990s. CIBA-GEIGY/Drakenfeld Colors initiated an extensive R D project to improve zircon ion corals for the whitewares industry. These color trends indicated a need for stronger and cleaner zircon iron corals. This paper discusses the chemistry and crystal structure of zircon iron corals. A historical review of Drakenfeld corals will also be presented. The most recent development in Drakenfeld corals will then be compared to other commercially available zircon iron corals. Taking into consideration these comparisons, conclusions will be drawn suggesting the coral of choice for the 1990s.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Corals concentrate dissolved inorganic carbon to facilitate calcification.

    PubMed

    Allison, Nicola; Cohen, Itay; Finch, Adrian A; Erez, Jonathan; Tudhope, Alexander W

    2014-12-22

    The sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) used to produce scleractinian coral skeletons are not understood. Yet this knowledge is essential for understanding coral biomineralization and assessing the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Here we use skeletal boron geochemistry to reconstruct the DIC chemistry of the fluid used for coral calcification. We show that corals concentrate DIC at the calcification site substantially above seawater values and that bicarbonate contributes a significant amount of the DIC pool used to build the skeleton. Corals actively increase the pH of the calcification fluid, decreasing the proportion of DIC present as CO2 and creating a diffusion gradient favouring the transport of molecular CO2 from the overlying coral tissue into the calcification site. Coupling the increases in calcification fluid pH and [DIC] yields high calcification fluid [CO3(2-)] and induces high aragonite saturation states, favourable to the precipitation of the skeleton.

  18. Can biological invasions save Caribbean coral reefs?

    PubMed

    Bellwood, David Roy; Robert Goatley, Christopher Harry

    2017-01-09

    It is widely accepted that coral reefs are in decline globally, due to climate change as well as more direct human impacts such as poor water quality and overharvesting [1-3]. Biological invasions are also seen as a major threat [4-6]; however, they may not all be negative. An invasion of Red Sea rabbitfishes is disrupting Mediterranean ecosystems by removing macro-algae - meanwhile, in contrast, the Caribbean is suffering from excess macro-algal growth. We suggest that an invasion of the Caribbean by rabbitfishes may prove beneficial, and that the future of Caribbean coral reefs may depend upon a rabbitfish invasion.

  19. Vibrio alginolyticus cellulitis following coral injury.

    PubMed Central

    Patterson, T. F.; Bell, S. R.; Bia, F. J.

    1988-01-01

    Infections associated with marine activities, particularly work or recreation in salt water, present unique diagnostic challenges for the infectious disease practitioner. Those caused by halophilic, non-cholera Vibrio species are increasingly being recognized in clinical practice. They typically follow saltwater injuries, especially those associated with coral. Because these infections can be both severe and life-threatening, a consideration of halophilic Vibrio species in the differential diagnosis of marine-acquired infections is important. In this case report, we discuss the diagnosis and treatment of cellulitis in a patient with a Caribbean coral injury associated with Vibrio alginolyticus cellulitis. PMID:3242316

  20. Does coral bleaching mean global warming

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, J.A.

    1991-02-01

    This article discusses the implications of global warming on the marine ecosystems. In recent hearings of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, plans were made to introduce legislation for control of greenhouse-gas emissions, conservation of biological diversity, forest conservation, world population planning, sustainable economic development , increased fuel efficiency, and increased research into Earth-system processes. Research is required to ascertain the meaning of coral bleaching, which is the mass expulsion of symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, which gives the coral its color. Many scientists think that the death of the algae is an early indicator for massive destruction of the marine ecosystem.

  1. Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book on coral reefs for middle school students is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 contains the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 discusses where coral reefs are found and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 discusses the…

  2. Calcification by juvenile corals under heterotrophy and elevated CO2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drenkard, E. J.; Cohen, A. L.; McCorkle, D. C.; de Putron, S. J.; Starczak, V. R.; Zicht, A. E.

    2013-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) threatens the existence of coral reefs by slowing the rate of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) production of framework-building corals thus reducing the amount of CaCO3 the reef can produce to counteract natural dissolution. Some evidence exists to suggest that elevated levels of dissolved inorganic nutrients can reduce the impact of OA on coral calcification. Here, we investigated the potential for enhanced energetic status of juvenile corals, achieved via heterotrophic feeding, to modulate the negative impact of OA on calcification. Larvae of the common Atlantic golf ball coral, Favia fragum, were collected and reared for 3 weeks under ambient (421 μatm) or significantly elevated (1,311 μatm) CO2 conditions. The metamorphosed, zooxanthellate spat were either fed brine shrimp (i.e., received nutrition from photosynthesis plus heterotrophy) or not fed (i.e., primarily autotrophic). Regardless of CO2 condition, the skeletons of fed corals exhibited accelerated development of septal cycles and were larger than those of unfed corals. At each CO2 level, fed corals accreted more CaCO3 than unfed corals, and fed corals reared under 1,311 μatm CO2 accreted as much CaCO3 as unfed corals reared under ambient CO2. However, feeding did not alter the sensitivity of calcification to increased CO2; ∆ calcification/∆Ω was comparable for fed and unfed corals. Our results suggest that calcification rates of nutritionally replete juvenile corals will decline as OA intensifies over the course of this century. Critically, however, such corals could maintain higher rates of skeletal growth and CaCO3 production under OA than those in nutritionally limited environments.

  3. Coral Settlement on a Highly Disturbed Equatorial Reef System

    PubMed Central

    Bauman, Andrew G.; Guest, James R.; Dunshea, Glenn; Low, Jeffery; Todd, Peter A.; Steinberg, Peter D.

    2015-01-01

    Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world’s most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m-2 yr-1) relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March–May and September–November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March–April and October), while the lowest settlement occurred from December–February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12), possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%), while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae <1%. Other, unidentifiable families represented 10% of the coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure (‘others’; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa) in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity of

  4. Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system.

    PubMed

    Bauman, Andrew G; Guest, James R; Dunshea, Glenn; Low, Jeffery; Todd, Peter A; Steinberg, Peter D

    2015-01-01

    Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world's most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m(-2) yr(-1)) relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March-May and September-November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March-April and October), while the lowest settlement occurred from December-February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12), possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%), while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae <1%. Other, unidentifiable families represented 10% of the coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure ('others'; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa) in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity of Singapore

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

    PubMed

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

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

  6. Coral bleaching--capacity for acclimatization and adaptation.

    PubMed

    Coles, S L; Brown, Barbara E

    2003-01-01

    Coral bleaching, i.e., loss of most of the symbiotic zooxanthellae normally found within coral tissue, has occurred with increasing frequency on coral reefs throughout the world in the last 20 years, mostly during periods of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Experiments and observations indicate that coral bleaching results primarily from elevated seawater temperatures under high light conditions, which increases rates of biochemical reactions associated with zooxanthellar photosynthesis, producing toxic forms of oxygen that interfere with cellular processes. Published projections of a baseline of increasing ocean temperature resulting from global warming have suggested that annual temperature maxima within 30 years may be at levels that will cause frequent coral bleaching and widespread mortality leading to decline of corals as dominant organisms on reefs. However, these projections have not considered the high variability in bleaching response that occurs among corals both within and among species. There is information that corals and their symbionts may be capable of acclimatization and selective adaptation to elevated temperatures that have already resulted in bleaching resistant coral populations, both locally and regionally, in various areas of the world. There are possible mechanisms that might provide resistance and protection to increased temperature and light. These include inducible heat shock proteins that act in refolding denatured cellular and structural proteins, production of oxidative enzymes that inactivate harmful oxygen radicals, fluorescent coral pigments that both reflect and dissipate light energy, and phenotypic adaptations of zooxanthellae and adaptive shifts in their populations at higher temperatures. Such mechanisms, when considered in conjunction with experimental and observational evidence for coral recovery in areas that have undergone coral bleaching, suggest an as yet undefined capacity in corals and zooxanthellae to adapt to

  7. Why Corals Care about Ocean Acidification: Insights from Ion Microprobe Analyses of Coral Crystals (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, A. L.; McCorkle, D. C.; de Putron, S.; Gaetani, G. A.; Rose, K. A.

    2009-12-01

    Ocean acidification caused by rising levels of atmospheric CO2 is considered a major threat to the future health of coral reef ecosystems across the global tropics and subtropics. Results from laboratory experiments with corals reared under elevated CO2 conditions suggest that coral growth rates may decline by up to 80% of modern values by the end of this century. The mechanism by which ocean acidification impacts the skeletal growth of corals however, is not well-understood, limiting our ability to predict how corals might respond to climate changes outside of the laboratory. We used micro-scale imaging (SEM) and analytical (SIMS) techniques to quantify morphological and compositional changes in the first aragonite crystals accreted by young corals as they metamorphosed from non-calcifying larvae to calcifying polyps in experimental aquaria with seawater saturation states (Ω) ranging from ambient (3.71) to strongly under-saturated (0.22). Aragonite was accreted by all corals, even those reared under strongly under-saturated conditions, indicating that Ω of fluid within the calcifying compartment is maintained well above that of the external seawater environment. However, significant and progressive changes in both crystal morphology and composition with increasing acidification indicate that Ω of the coral’s calcifying fluid changed in proportion to that of the aquarium seawater. With increasing acidification, the normal skeleton of densely-packed bundles of fine aragonite needles gave way to a disordered aggregate of highly faceted rhombs. Sr/Ca ratios of the crystals increased by 13% and Mg/Ca ratios decreased by 45%. By comparing these variations in elemental ratios with results from Rayleigh fractionation calculations, we show that these changes are consistent with a >80% decrease in the amount of aragonite precipitated by the corals from each “batch” of calcifying fluid. The inability of the corals in acidified treatments to achieve the levels of

  8. Phylogenetic diversity of actinobacteria associated with soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and stony coral Tubastraea coccinea in the East China Sea.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shan; Sun, Wei; Tang, Cen; Jin, Liling; Zhang, Fengli; Li, Zhiyong

    2013-07-01

    Actinobacteria are widely distributed in the marine environment. To date, few studies have been performed to explore the coral-associated Actinobacteria, and little is known about the diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. In this study, the actinobacterial diversity associated with one soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and one stony coral Tubastraea coccinea collected from the East China Sea was investigated using both culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches. A total of 19 actinobacterial genera were detected in these two corals, among which nine genera (Corynebacterium, Dietzia, Gordonia, Kocuria, Microbacterium, Micrococcus, Mycobacterium, Streptomyces, and Candidatus Microthrix) were common, three genera (Cellulomonas, Dermatophilus, and Janibacter) were unique to the soft coral, and seven genera (Brevibacterium, Dermacoccus, Leucobacter, Micromonospora, Nocardioides, Rhodococcus, and Serinicoccus) were unique to the stony coral. This finding suggested that highly diverse Actinobacteria were associated with different types of corals. In particular, five actinobacterial genera (Cellulomonas, Dermacoccus, Gordonia, Serinicoccus, and Candidatus Microthrix) were recovered from corals for the first time, extending the known diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. This study shows that soft and stony corals host diverse Actinobacteria and can serve as a new source of marine actinomycetes.

  9. A coral-on-a-chip microfluidic platform enabling live-imaging microscopy of reef-building corals

    PubMed Central

    Shapiro, Orr H.; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Gavish, Assaf R.; Stocker, Roman; Vardi, Assaf

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs, and the unique ecosystems they support, are facing severe threats by human activities and climate change. Our understanding of these threats is hampered by the lack of robust approaches for studying the micro-scale interactions between corals and their environment. Here we present an experimental platform, coral-on-a-chip, combining micropropagation and microfluidics to allow direct microscopic study of live coral polyps. The small and transparent coral micropropagates are ideally suited for live-imaging microscopy, while the microfluidic platform facilitates long-term visualization under controlled environmental conditions. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by imaging coral micropropagates at previously unattainable spatio-temporal resolutions, providing new insights into several micro-scale processes including coral calcification, coral–pathogen interaction and the loss of algal symbionts (coral bleaching). Coral-on-a-chip thus provides a powerful method for studying coral physiology in vivo at the micro-scale, opening new vistas in coral biology. PMID:26940983

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Hong Kong Corals: A Cautionary Tale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  13. Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wen, Colin K. C.; Bonin, Mary C.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2016-06-01

    Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species' dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by ~28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010-2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  17. Kinetics of photoacclimation in corals.

    PubMed

    Anthony, Kenneth R N; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2003-01-01

    Traditional models describing the relationship between photosynthesis (P) and irradiance (I) do not account for photoacclimation to short-term variation in irradiance. Here we develop and test a model that predicts the rate of photosynthesis under fluctuating irradiances at the scale of days to weeks. Using oxygen respirometry, we measured the rates of change in the P-I model parameters P(max) (maximum rate of gross photosynthesis) and I(k) (sub-saturation irradiance) of the photo-symbiotic coral Turbinaria mesenterina (Lamarck) following large and small increases and decreases in growth irradiance. We analyse the behaviour of the dynamic P-I model in turbid-water conditions using a dataset of 3-month continuous irradiance as the input variable. In response to upward or downward changes in experimental growth irradiance, I(k) values decreased or increased exponentially, reaching new and stable levels within 5-10 days. I(k) responded 4 times stronger than P(max) to changes in growth irradiance. The kinetics of I(k) did not show hysteresis, and changed in similar ways when irradiance was increased or decreased in small or large amounts. This suggests that mechanisms associated with photo-protection during increases in irradiance, and the maximisation of photosynthetic efficiency during decreases in irradiance, are equally potent. On the scale of months, the dynamic P-I model did not predict higher rates of photosynthesis than the static P-I model, but buffered the variation in photosynthesis during periods of reduced irradiance. Fourier analysis indicated that the kinetics of I(k) closely matches the main periodicities in daily irradiance (1-2 weeks). The recorded kinetics of photoacclimation in the Turbinaria-zooxanthella symbiosis is comparable to that of free-living phytoplankton and faster than that of higher plants.

  18. Hurricanes and coral bleaching linked to changes in coral recruitment in Tobago.

    PubMed

    Mallela, J; Crabbe, M J C

    2009-10-01

    Knowledge of coral recruitment patterns helps us understand how reefs react following major disturbances and provides us with an early warning system for predicting future reef health problems. We have reconstructed and interpreted historical and modern-day recruitment patterns, using a combination of growth modelling and in situ recruitment experiments, in order to understand how hurricanes, storms and bleaching events have influenced coral recruitment on the Caribbean coastline of Tobago. Whilst Tobago does not lie within the main hurricane belt results indicate that regional hurricane events negatively impact coral recruitment patterns in the Southern Caribbean. In years following hurricanes, tropical storms and bleaching events, coral recruitment was reduced when compared to normal years (p=0.016). Following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and the 2005-2006 bleaching event, coral recruitment was markedly limited with only 2% (n=6) of colonies estimated to have recruited during 2006 and 2007. Our experimental results indicate that despite multiple large-scale disturbances corals are still recruiting on Tobago's marginal reef systems, albeit in low numbers.

  19. 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.

  20. Nitrogen and photosynthetic function of hermatypic corals. Oxygen exchange of Stylophora pistillata coral under artificial feeding.

    PubMed

    Leletkin, V A

    2005-01-01

    The change of Stylophora pistillata coral photosynthetic function (oxygen exchange and biomass of symbionts) under starvation and food enrichment was studied to understand the role of heterotrophy in nitrogen supplements of zooxanthellae. The starvation caused the decrease of frequency of zooxanthellae cells division in 7-10 times. The number of degraded algae cells increased in same proportion and, as a result, the density of zooxanthellae in corals decreased about two times during one-two weeks. Under starvation corals kept their photosynthetic capacity at the level of corals in situ by means of enhancing the zooxanthellae gross photosynthesis. The respiration rate of coral had tendency to increase and the dry mass of polyp tissue to decrease. Under artificial feeding which was following starvation the zooxanthellae density increased in 1.5-2 times, and particular food caused more intensive accumulation of zooxanthellae comparing to dissolved inorganic ammonium. The feeding regime did not affect dry mass of polyp tissue and chlorophyll content as well as respiration and gross productivity of the corals. The conclusion about high effectiveness of particular feeding for supplying symbiotic algae with nitrogen was made and trophic status of zooxanthellae in hospite was determined as unlimited by nitrogen.

  1. Modeling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evenhuis, C.; Lenton, A.; Cantin, N. E.; Lough, J. M.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems threatened by rising CO2 levels that are driving the observed increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are able to explicitly modelled by linking the rates of growth, recovery and calcification to the rates of bleaching and temperature stress induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The different characteristics of this model are also assessed against independent data to show that the model captures the observed response of corals. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles for understanding the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can reproduce much of the observed response of corals to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

  2. Modelling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evenhuis, C.; Lenton, A.; Cantin, N. E.; Lough, J. M.

    2015-05-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that are threatened by rising CO2 levels through increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are explicitly modelled by linking rates of growth, recovery and calcification to rates of bleaching and temperature-stress-induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, correlated up- and down-regulation of traits that are consistent with resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The performance of the model is assessed against independent data to demonstrate how it can capture the observed response of corals to stress. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles to help understand the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can give insights into how corals respond to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

  3. Coral-associated micro-organisms and their roles in promoting coral health and thwarting diseases

    PubMed Central

    Krediet, Cory J.; Ritchie, Kim B.; Paul, Valerie J.; Teplitski, Max

    2013-01-01

    Over the last decade, significant advances have been made in characterization of the coral microbiota. Shifts in its composition often correlate with the appearance of signs of diseases and/or bleaching, thus suggesting a link between microbes, coral health and stability of reef ecosystems. The understanding of interactions in coral-associated microbiota is informed by the on-going characterization of other microbiomes, which suggest that metabolic pathways and functional capabilities define the ‘core’ microbiota more accurately than the taxonomic diversity of its members. Consistent with this hypothesis, there does not appear to be a consensus on the specificity in the interactions of corals with microbial commensals, even though recent studies report potentially beneficial functions of the coral-associated bacteria. They cycle sulphur, fix nitrogen, produce antimicrobial compounds, inhibit cell-to-cell signalling and disrupt virulence in opportunistic pathogens. While their beneficial functions have been documented, it is not certain whether or how these microbes are selected by the hosts. Therefore, understanding the role of innate immunity, signal and nutrient exchange in the establishment of coral microbiota and in controlling its functions will probably reveal ancient, evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that dictate the outcomes of host–microbial interactions, and impact the resilience of the host. PMID:23363627

  4. The diversity of coral associated bacteria and the environmental factors affect their community variation.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yan-Ying; Ling, Juan; Yang, Qing-Song; Wang, You-Shao; Sun, Cui-Ci; Sun, Hong-Yan; Feng, Jing-Bin; Jiang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Yuan-Zhou; Wu, Mei-Lin; Dong, Jun-De

    2015-10-01

    Coral associated bacterial community potentially has functions relating to coral health, nutrition and disease. Culture-free, 16S rRNA based techniques were used to compare the bacterial community of coral tissue, mucus and seawater around coral, and to investigate the relationship between the coral-associated bacterial communities and environmental variables. The diversity of coral associated bacterial communities was very high, and their composition different from seawater. Coral tissue and mucus had a coral associated bacterial community with higher abundances of Gammaproteobacteria. However, bacterial community in seawater had a higher abundance of Cyanobacteria. Different populations were also found in mucus and tissue from the same coral fragment, and the abundant bacterial species associated with coral tissue was very different from those found in coral mucus. The microbial diversity and OTUs of coral tissue were much higher than those of coral mucus. Bacterial communities of corals from more human activities site have higher diversity and evenness; and the structure of bacterial communities were significantly different from the corals collected from other sites. The composition of bacterial communities associated with same coral species varied with season's changes, geographic differences, and coastal pollution. Unique bacterial groups found in the coral samples from more human activities location were significant positively correlated to chemical oxygen demand. These coral specific bacteria lead to coral disease or adjust to form new function structure for the adaption of different surrounding needs further research.

  5. 50 CFR 223.208 - Corals.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... paragraphs (1) through (6): (1) Permitted scientific research and enhancement. Any export or take of elkhorn or staghorn corals resulting from conducting scientific research or enhancement directed at elkhorn... restoration activity is defined as the methods and processes used to provide aid to injured individual elkhorn...

  6. Photography of Coral Reefs from ISS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the uses of photography from the International Space Station (ISS) in studying Earth's coral reefs. The photographs include reefs in various oceans . The photographs have uses for science in assisting NASA mapping initiatives, distribution worldwide through ReefBase, and by biologist in the field.

  7. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E.; Gaines, Steven D.; Caselle, Jennifer E.

    2017-01-01

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km2, which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought. PMID:28220895

  8. Shapes and textures for rendering coral

    SciTech Connect

    Max, N.L. ); Wyvill, G. )

    1990-10-18

    A growth algorithm has been developed to build coral shapes out of a tree of spheres. A volume density defined by the spheres is contoured to give a soft object.'' The resulting contour surfaces are rendered by ray tracing, using a generalized volume texture to produce shading and bump mapped'' normal perturbations. 16 refs., 8 figs.

  9. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P; McCauley, Douglas J; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E; Gaines, Steven D; Caselle, Jennifer E

    2017-02-21

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km(2), which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought.

  10. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allgeier, Jacob E.; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A.

    2016-08-01

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.

  11. DISEASES OF CORALS: RESEARCH PROGRESS, REEF PROSPECTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Scleractinian corals have been the subject of intensive research during the past few decades to improve understanding of their role in supporting diverse tropical and subtropical marine communities and to examine factors responsible for their decline and loss of community biodive...

  12. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    PubMed Central

    Allgeier, Jacob E.; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A.

    2016-01-01

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management. PMID:27529748

  13. DISEASES OF CORALS: RESEARCH PROGRESS, REEF PROSPECTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Scleractinian corals have been the subject of intensive research during the past few decades to improve understanding of their role in supporting diverse tropical and subtropical marine communities and to examine factors responsible for their decline and loss of community biodive...

  14. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality stan...

  15. GLOBAL CHANGE EFFECTS ON CORAL REEF CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fisher, W., W. Davis, J. Campbell, L. Courtney, P. Harris, B. Hemmer, M. Parsons, B. Quarles and D. Santavy. In press. Global Change Effects on Coral Reef Condition (Abstract). To be presented at the EPA Science Forum: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems, 1-3 June 2004, Washington...

  16. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A

    2016-08-16

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.

  17. Coral reefs and the World Bank.

    PubMed

    Hatziolos, M

    1997-01-01

    The World Bank¿s involvement in coral reef conservation is part of a larger effort to promote the sound management of coastal and marine resources. This involves three major thrusts: partnerships, investments, networks and knowledge. As an initial partner and early supporter of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Bank serves as the executive planning committee of ICRI. In partnership with the World Conservation Union and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Bank promotes the efforts towards the establishment and maintenance of a globally representative system of marine protected areas. In addition, the Bank invested over $120 million in coral reef rehabilitation and protection programs in several countries. Furthermore, the Bank developed a ¿Knowledge Bank¿ that would market ideas and knowledge to its clients along with investment projects. This aimed to put the best global knowledge on environmentally sustainable development in the hands of its staff and clients. During the celebration of 1997, as the International Year of the Reef, the Bank planned to cosponsor an associated event that would highlight the significance of coral reefs and encourage immediate action to halt their degradation to conserve this unique ecosystem.

  18. Nitrogen fixation in a coral reef community.

    PubMed

    Wiebe, W J; Johannes, R E; Webb, K L

    1975-04-18

    Algal reef flats at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, fix atmospheric nitrogen at rates comparable to those in managed agriculture. The dominant nitrogen fixer appears to be the blue-green alga Calothrix crustacea. Since this nutrient enrichment contributes to the high productivity of adjacent coral reefs and undoubtedly to atoll lagoons, it is recommended that the algal reef flats receive increased conservation priority.

  19. Coral snake mimicry: does it occur?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greene, H.W.; McDiarmid, R.W.

    1981-01-01

    Field observations and experimental evidence refute previous objections to the coral snake mimicry hypothesis. Concordant color pattern variation spanning hundreds of miles and several presumed venemous models strongly suggests that several harmless or mildly venemous colubrid snakes are indeed mimics of highly venemous elapids.

  20. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality stan...

  1. Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohki, S.; Irie, T.; Inoue, M.; Shinmen, K.; Kawahata, H.; Nakamura, T.; Kato, A.; Nojiri, Y.; Suzuki, A.; Sakai, K.; van Woesik, R.

    2013-04-01

    Increasing the acidity of ocean waters will directly threaten calcifying marine organisms such as reef-building scleractinian corals, and the myriad of species that rely on corals for protection and sustenance. Ocean pH has already decreased by around 0.1 pH units since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and is expected to decrease by another 0.2-0.4 pH units by 2100. This study mimicked the pre-industrial, present, and near-future levels of pCO2 using a precise control system (±5% pCO2), to assess the impact of ocean acidification on the calcification of recently-settled primary polyps of Acropora digitifera, both with and without symbionts, and adult fragments with symbionts. The increase in pCO2 of 100 μatm between the pre-industrial period and the present had more effect on the calcification rate of adult A. digitifera than the anticipated future increases of several hundreds of micro-atmospheres of pCO2. The primary polyps with symbionts showed higher calcification rates than primary polyps without symbionts, suggesting that (i) primary polyps housing symbionts are more tolerant to near-future ocean acidification than organisms without symbionts, and (ii) corals acquiring symbionts from the environment (i.e. broadcasting species) will be more vulnerable to ocean acidification than corals that maternally acquire symbionts.

  2. GLOBAL CHANGE EFFECTS ON CORAL REEF CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fisher, W., W. Davis, J. Campbell, L. Courtney, P. Harris, B. Hemmer, M. Parsons, B. Quarles and D. Santavy. In press. Global Change Effects on Coral Reef Condition (Abstract). To be presented at the EPA Science Forum: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems, 1-3 June 2004, Washington...

  3. Isotropic microscale mechanical properties of coral skeletons

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Ciliate communities consistently associated with coral diseases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sweet, M. J.; Séré, M. G.

    2016-07-01

    Incidences of coral disease are increasing. Most studies which focus on diseases in these organisms routinely assess variations in bacterial associates. However, other microorganism groups such as viruses, fungi and protozoa are only recently starting to receive attention. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of ciliates associated with coral diseases over a wide geographical range. Here we show that a wide variety of ciliates are associated with all nine coral diseases assessed. Many of these ciliates such as Trochilia petrani and Glauconema trihymene feed on the bacteria which are likely colonizing the bare skeleton exposed by the advancing disease lesion or the necrotic tissue itself. Others such as Pseudokeronopsis and Licnophora macfarlandi are common predators of other protozoans and will be attracted by the increase in other ciliate species to the lesion interface. However, a few ciliate species (namely Varistrombidium kielum, Philaster lucinda, Philaster guamense, a Euplotes sp., a Trachelotractus sp. and a Condylostoma sp.) appear to harbor symbiotic algae, potentially from the coral themselves, a result which may indicate that they play some role in the disease pathology at the very least. Although, from this study alone we are not able to discern what roles any of these ciliates play in disease causation, the consistent presence of such communities with disease lesion interfaces warrants further investigation.

  5. Large-amplitude internal waves benefit corals during thermal stress.

    PubMed

    Wall, M; Putchim, L; Schmidt, G M; Jantzen, C; Khokiattiwong, S; Richter, C

    2015-01-22

    Tropical scleractinian corals are particularly vulnerable to global warming as elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) disrupt the delicate balance between the coral host and their algal endosymbionts, leading to symbiont expulsion, mass bleaching and mortality. While satellite sensing of SST has proved a reliable predictor of coral bleaching at the regional scale, there are large deviations in bleaching severity and mortality on the local scale that are poorly understood. Here, we show that internal waves play a major role in explaining local coral bleaching and mortality patterns in the Andaman Sea. Despite a severe region-wide SST anomaly in May 2010, frequent upslope intrusions of cold sub-pycnocline waters due to breaking large-amplitude internal waves (LAIW) mitigated coral bleaching and mortality in shallow waters. In LAIW-sheltered waters, by contrast, bleaching-susceptible species suffered severe bleaching and total mortality. These findings suggest that LAIW benefit coral reefs during thermal stress and provide local refugia for bleaching-susceptible corals. LAIW are ubiquitous in tropical stratified waters and their swash zones may thus be important conservation areas for the maintenance of coral diversity in a warming climate. Taking LAIW into account can significantly improve coral bleaching predictions and provide a valuable tool for coral reef conservation and management. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  7. Large-amplitude internal waves benefit corals during thermal stress

    PubMed Central

    Wall, M.; Putchim, L.; Schmidt, G. M.; Jantzen, C.; Khokiattiwong, S.; Richter, C.

    2015-01-01

    Tropical scleractinian corals are particularly vulnerable to global warming as elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) disrupt the delicate balance between the coral host and their algal endosymbionts, leading to symbiont expulsion, mass bleaching and mortality. While satellite sensing of SST has proved a reliable predictor of coral bleaching at the regional scale, there are large deviations in bleaching severity and mortality on the local scale that are poorly understood. Here, we show that internal waves play a major role in explaining local coral bleaching and mortality patterns in the Andaman Sea. Despite a severe region-wide SST anomaly in May 2010, frequent upslope intrusions of cold sub-pycnocline waters due to breaking large-amplitude internal waves (LAIW) mitigated coral bleaching and mortality in shallow waters. In LAIW-sheltered waters, by contrast, bleaching-susceptible species suffered severe bleaching and total mortality. These findings suggest that LAIW benefit coral reefs during thermal stress and provide local refugia for bleaching-susceptible corals. LAIW are ubiquitous in tropical stratified waters and their swash zones may thus be important conservation areas for the maintenance of coral diversity in a warming climate. Taking LAIW into account can significantly improve coral bleaching predictions and provide a valuable tool for coral reef conservation and management. PMID:25473004

  8. Bacteria associated with the bleached and cave coral Oculina patagonica.

    PubMed

    Koren, Omry; Rosenberg, Eugene

    2008-04-01

    The relative abundance of bacteria in the mucus and tissues of Oculina patagonica taken from bleached and cave (azooxanthellae) corals was determined by analyses of the 16S rRNA genes from cloned libraries of extracted DNA and from isolated colonies. The results were compared to previously published data on healthy O. patagonica. The bacterial community of bleached, cave, and healthy corals were completely different from each other. A tight cluster (>99.5% identity) of bacteria, showing 100% identity to Acinetobacter species, dominated bleached corals, comprising 25% of the 316 clones sequenced. The dominant bacterial cluster found in cave corals, representing 29% of the 97 clones sequenced, showed 98% identity to an uncultured bacterium from the Great Barrier Reef. Vibrio splendidus was the most dominant species in healthy O. patagonica. The culturable bacteria represented 0.1-1.0% of the total bacteria (SYBR Gold staining) of the corals. The most abundant culturable bacteria in bleached, cave, and healthy corals were clusters that most closely matched Microbulbifer sp., an alpha-proteobacterium previously isolated from healthy corals and an alpha-protobacterium (AB026194), respectively. Three generalizations emerge from this study on O. patagonica: (1) More bacteria are associated with coral tissue than mucus; (2) tissue and mucus populations are different; (3) bacterial populations associated with corals change dramatically when corals lack their symbiotic zooxanthellae, either as a result of the bleaching disease or when growing in the absence of light.

  9. 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.

  10. Time to cash in on positive interactions for coral restoration

    PubMed Central

    Silliman, Brian R.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on Earth, and provide critical ecosystem services such as protein provisioning, coastal protection, and tourism revenue. Despite these benefits, coral reefs have been declining precipitously across the globe due to human impacts and climate change. Recent efforts to combat these declines are increasingly turning to restoration to help reseed corals and speed-up recovery processes. Coastal restoration theory and practice has historically favored transplanting designs that reduce potentially harmful negative species interactions, such as competition between transplants. However, recent research in salt marsh ecosystems has shown that shifting this theory to strategically incorporate positive interactions significantly enhances restoration yield with little additional cost or investment. Although some coral restoration efforts plant corals in protected areas in order to benefit from the facilitative effects of herbivores that reduce competitive macroalgae, little systematic effort has been made in coral restoration to identify the entire suite of positive interactions that could promote population enhancement efforts. Here, we highlight key positive species interactions that managers and restoration practitioners should utilize to facilitate the restoration of corals, including (i) trophic facilitation, (ii) mutualisms, (iii) long-distance facilitation, (iv) positive density-dependence, (v) positive legacy effects, and (vi) synergisms between biodiversity and ecosystem function. As live coral cover continues to decline and resources are limited to restore coral populations, innovative solutions that increase efficiency of restoration efforts will be critical to conserving and maintaining healthy coral reef ecosystems and the human communities that rely on them. PMID:28652942

  11. Coral Thermal Tolerance: Tuning Gene Expression to Resist Thermal Stress

    PubMed Central

    Bellantuono, Anthony J.; Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Miller, David J.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio

    2012-01-01

    The acclimatization capacity of corals is a critical consideration in the persistence of coral reefs under stresses imposed by global climate change. The stress history of corals plays a role in subsequent response to heat stress, but the transcriptomic changes associated with these plastic changes have not been previously explored. In order to identify host transcriptomic changes associated with acquired thermal tolerance in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora, corals preconditioned to a sub-lethal temperature of 3°C below bleaching threshold temperature were compared to both non-preconditioned corals and untreated controls using a cDNA microarray platform. After eight days of hyperthermal challenge, conditions under which non-preconditioned corals bleached and preconditioned corals (thermal-tolerant) maintained Symbiodinium density, a clear differentiation in the transcriptional profiles was revealed among the condition examined. Among these changes, nine differentially expressed genes separated preconditioned corals from non-preconditioned corals, with 42 genes differentially expressed between control and preconditioned treatments, and 70 genes between non-preconditioned corals and controls. Differentially expressed genes included components of an apoptotic signaling cascade, which suggest the inhibition of apoptosis in preconditioned corals. Additionally, lectins and genes involved in response to oxidative stress were also detected. One dominant pattern was the apparent tuning of gene expression observed between preconditioned and non-preconditioned treatments; that is, differences in expression magnitude were more apparent than differences in the identity of genes differentially expressed. Our work revealed a transcriptomic signature underlying the tolerance associated with coral thermal history, and suggests that understanding the molecular mechanisms behind physiological acclimatization would be critical for the modeling of reefs in impending climate

  12. Coral thermal tolerance: tuning gene expression to resist thermal stress.

    PubMed

    Bellantuono, Anthony J; Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Miller, David J; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio

    2012-01-01

    The acclimatization capacity of corals is a critical consideration in the persistence of coral reefs under stresses imposed by global climate change. The stress history of corals plays a role in subsequent response to heat stress, but the transcriptomic changes associated with these plastic changes have not been previously explored. In order to identify host transcriptomic changes associated with acquired thermal tolerance in the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora, corals preconditioned to a sub-lethal temperature of 3°C below bleaching threshold temperature were compared to both non-preconditioned corals and untreated controls using a cDNA microarray platform. After eight days of hyperthermal challenge, conditions under which non-preconditioned corals bleached and preconditioned corals (thermal-tolerant) maintained Symbiodinium density, a clear differentiation in the transcriptional profiles was revealed among the condition examined. Among these changes, nine differentially expressed genes separated preconditioned corals from non-preconditioned corals, with 42 genes differentially expressed between control and preconditioned treatments, and 70 genes between non-preconditioned corals and controls. Differentially expressed genes included components of an apoptotic signaling cascade, which suggest the inhibition of apoptosis in preconditioned corals. Additionally, lectins and genes involved in response to oxidative stress were also detected. One dominant pattern was the apparent tuning of gene expression observed between preconditioned and non-preconditioned treatments; that is, differences in expression magnitude were more apparent than differences in the identity of genes differentially expressed. Our work revealed a transcriptomic signature underlying the tolerance associated with coral thermal history, and suggests that understanding the molecular mechanisms behind physiological acclimatization would be critical for the modeling of reefs in impending climate

  13. Chemotaxis by natural populations of coral reef bacteria.

    PubMed

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Petrou, Katherina; Tyson, Gene W; Webster, Nicole S; Garren, Melissa; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2015-08-01

    Corals experience intimate associations with distinct populations of marine microorganisms, but the microbial behaviours underpinning these relationships are poorly understood. There is evidence that chemotaxis is pivotal to the infection process of corals by pathogenic bacteria, but this evidence is limited to experiments using cultured isolates under laboratory conditions. We measured the chemotactic capabilities of natural populations of coral-associated bacteria towards chemicals released by corals and their symbionts, including amino acids, carbohydrates, ammonium and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Laboratory experiments, using a modified capillary assay, and in situ measurements, using a novel microfabricated in situ chemotaxis assay, were employed to quantify the chemotactic responses of natural microbial assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef. Both approaches showed that bacteria associated with the surface of the coral species Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora aspera exhibited significant levels of chemotaxis, particularly towards DMSP and amino acids, and that these levels of chemotaxis were significantly higher than that of bacteria inhabiting nearby, non-coral-associated waters. This pattern was supported by a significantly higher abundance of chemotaxis and motility genes in metagenomes within coral-associated water types. The phylogenetic composition of the coral-associated chemotactic microorganisms, determined using 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, differed from the community in the seawater surrounding the coral and comprised known coral associates, including potentially pathogenic Vibrio species. These findings indicate that motility and chemotaxis are prevalent phenotypes among coral-associated bacteria, and we propose that chemotaxis has an important role in the establishment and maintenance of specific coral-microbe associations, which may ultimately influence the health and stability of the coral holobiont.

  14. In Situ Oxygen Dynamics in Coral-Algal Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Wangpraseurt, Daniel; Weber, Miriam; Røy, Hans; Polerecky, Lubos; de Beer, Dirk; Suharsono; Nugues, Maggy M.

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral reefs degrade globally at an alarming rate, with benthic algae often replacing corals. However, the extent to which benthic algae contribute to coral mortality, and the potential mechanisms involved, remain disputed. Recent laboratory studies suggested that algae kill corals by inducing hypoxia on the coral surface, through stimulated microbial respiration. Methods/Findings We examined the main premise of this hypothesis by measuring in situ oxygen microenvironments at the contact interface between the massive coral Porites spp. and turf algae, and between Porites spp. and crustose coralline algae (CCA). Oxygen levels at the interface were similar to healthy coral tissue and ranged between 300–400 µM during the day. At night, the interface was hypoxic (∼70 µM) in coral-turf interactions and close to anoxic (∼2 µM) in coral-CCA interactions, but these values were not significantly different from healthy tissue. The diffusive boundary layer (DBL) was about three times thicker at the interface than above healthy tissue, due to a depression in the local topography. A numerical model, developed to analyze the oxygen profiles above the irregular interface, revealed strongly reduced net photosynthesis and dark respiration rates at the coral-algal interface compared to unaffected tissue during the day and at night, respectively. Conclusions/Significance Our results showed that hypoxia was not a consistent feature in the microenvironment of the coral-algal interface under in situ conditions. Therefore, hypoxia alone is unlikely to be the cause of coral mortality. Due to the modified topography, the interaction zone is distinguished by a thicker diffusive boundary layer, which limits the local metabolic activity and likely promotes accumulation of potentially harmful metabolic products (e.g., allelochemicals and protons). Our study highlights the importance of mass transfer phenomena and the need for direct in situ measurements of microenvironmental

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. Key Ecological Interactions of Reef Building Corals - 11-16-2011

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. Key Ecological Interactions of Reef Building Corals - 11-16-2011

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  18. 75 FR 21650 - Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Biscayne National...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-04-26

    ... National Park Service Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement... Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan... Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan for Biscayne National Park,...

  19. 76 FR 38618 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Coral Reef Conservation Program Survey

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-07-01

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Coral... United States (U.S.) jurisdictions containing coral reefs. Specifically, NOAA is seeking information on... collection of social and economic data related to the communities affected by coral reef...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  1. Faunistic Catalog of the Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) of Parque Nacional do Itatiaia and its Surroundings in Southeastern Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Dumas, Leandro Lourenço; Nessimian, Jorge Luiz

    2012-01-01

    The Atlantic Forest is considered one of the world's biological diversity hotspots, and is increasingly threatened by the rapid destruction and fragmentation of its natural areas. The caddisflies (Trichoptera) of Itatiaia massif, an Atlantic Forest highland area, are inventoried and cataloged here. The catalog is based on examination of bibliographies, field work on many localities of Itatiaia massif (including Parque Nacional do Itatiaia — PNI), and the entomological collection Professor José Alfredo Pinheiro Dutra (DZRJ), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. A total of 92 species are recorded, representing about 17% of the known Brazilian Trichoptera fauna. Leptoceridae, Hydropsychidae, and Philopotamidae are the families most represented. The high species richness, as well as the remarkable patterns of species distribution, may be related to the characteristics of Mantiqueira mountain range. PMID:22958122

  2. Sandfly fauna (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Parque do Sabiá complex, Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Elisângela de Azevedo Silva; Andrade Filho, José Dilermando; Limongi, Jean Ezequiel; Paula, Márcia Beatriz Cardoso de

    2011-01-01

    Between April 2003 and May 2009 phlebotomine sandflies were collected in Parque do Sabiá complex, Uberlândia municipality, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, using CDC and Shannon traps. The objective was to associate the sandfly species captured to the risk of the transmission of leishmaniasis in the municipality. The 126 captured specimens belonging to six species of phlebotomine, among which Lutzomyia (Psychodopygus) davisi (Root, 1934) predominated with 113 specimens (89.7%). The remaining captured species were Lutzomyia (Pintomyia) mamedei Oliveira, Afonso, Dias & Brazil, 1994 - five specimens (3.9%); Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata (Mangabeira, 1942) - four specimens (3.2%); Lutzomyia lenti (Mangabeira, 1938) - two specimens (1.6%); Brumptomyia avellari (Costa Lima, 1932) - one specimen (0.8%); and Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) whitmani (Antunes & Coutinho, 1939) - one specimen (0.8%). The collection of species that may be involved in the transmission of Leishmania reveals the need for continuous entomological surveillance.

  3. Faunistic catalog of the caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) of Parque Nacional do Itatiaia and its surroundings in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Dumas, Leandro Lourenço; Nessimian, Jorge Luiz

    2012-01-01

    The Atlantic Forest is considered one of the world's biological diversity hotspots, and is increasingly threatened by the rapid destruction and fragmentation of its natural areas. The caddisflies (Trichoptera) of Itatiaia massif, an Atlantic Forest highland area, are inventoried and cataloged here. The catalog is based on examination of bibliographies, field work on many localities of Itatiaia massif (including Parque Nacional do Itatiaia - PNI), and the entomological collection Professor José Alfredo Pinheiro Dutra (DZRJ), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. A total of 92 species are recorded, representing about 17% of the known Brazilian Trichoptera fauna. Leptoceridae, Hydropsychidae, and Philopotamidae are the families most represented. The high species richness, as well as the remarkable patterns of species distribution, may be related to the characteristics of Mantiqueira mountain range.

  4. Community structure of coral reefs on opposite sides of the isthmus of panama.

    PubMed

    Portfr, J W

    1974-11-08

    Competition for space amon reef corals includes interspecific destruction by extracoelenteric digestion., rapid growth. and Overtopping. No Caribbean species excela in all strategies, and on western Caribbean coral reefs there is a positive correlation between coral abudance and diversity. On eastern Pacific coral reefs, however. Pocillopora damicornis excludes other corals, and on these reefs there is an inverse relation between coral abundance and diversity, except in areas where distrubances, such as Acanthaster predation offset space monopolization.

  5. Understanding the murky history of the Coral Triangle: Miocene corals and reef habitats in East Kalimantan (Indonesia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Renema, Willem; Johnson, Kenneth G.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on ancient coral communities living in marginal conditions, including low light, high turbidity, extreme temperatures, or high nutrients, are important to understand the current structure of reefs and how they could potentially respond to global changes. The main goal of this study was to document the rich and well-preserved fossil coral fauna preserved in Miocene exposures of the Kutai Basin in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our collections include almost forty thousand specimens collected from 47 outcrops. Seventy-nine genera and 234 species have been identified. Three different coral assemblages were found corresponding to small patch reefs that developed under the influence of high siliciclastic inputs from the Mahakam Delta. Coral assemblages vary in richness, structure, and composition. Platy coral assemblages were common until the Serravallian (Middle Miocene), while branching coral assemblages became dominant in the Tortonian (Late Miocene). By the late Tortonian massive coral assemblages dominated, similar to modern-style coral framework. Our results suggest that challenging habitats, such as the Miocene turbid habitats of East Kalimantan, might have played an important role during the early diversification of the Coral Triangle by hosting a pool of resilient species more likely to survive the environmental changes that have affected this region since the Cenozoic. Further research that integrates fossil and recent turbid habitats may provide a glimpse into the dynamics and future of coral reefs as "typical" clear-water reefs continue to decline in most regions.

  6. The northernmost coral frontier of the Maldives: The coral reefs of Ihavandippolu Atoll under long-term environmental change.

    PubMed

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

    Ihavandippolu, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in 1998 followed by several bleaching episodes in the last decade. Coral cover in the 11 study sites surveyed in July-December of 2011 in the 3-5 m depth range varied from 1.7 to 51%. Reefs of the islands located in the center of Ihavandippolu lagoon have exhibited a very low coral recovery since 1998 and remain mostly degraded 12 years after the impact. At the same time, some reefs, especially in the inner part of the eastern ring of the atoll, demonstrate a high coral cover (>40%) with a dominance of branching Acropora that is known to be one of the coral genera that is most susceptible to thermal stress. The last severe bleaching event in 2010 resulted in high coral mortality in some sites of the atoll. Differences in coral mortality rates and proportion between "susceptible" and "resistant" taxa in study sites are apparently related to long-term adaptation and local hydrological features that can mitigate thermal impacts. Abundant herbivorous fish observed in the atoll prevent coral overgrowth by macroalgae even on degraded reefs. Despite the frequent influence of temperature anomalies and having less geomorphologic refuges for coral survivals than other larger Maldivian atolls, a major part of observed coral communities in Ihavandippolu Atoll exhibits high resilience and potential for further acclimatization to a changing environment.

  7. Spatial and Seasonal Calcification in Corals and Calcareous Crusts in a Naturally Warm Coral Reef Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roik, A.; Roder, C.; Roethig, T.; Voolstra, C. R.

    2016-02-01

    The Red Sea harbors highly diverse and structurally complex coral reefs and is of interest for ocean warming studies. In the central and southern part, water temperatures rise above 30°C during summer, constituting one of the warmest coral reef environments worldwide. Additionally, seasonal variability of temperatures allows studying changes of environmental conditions and their effects on coral reef processes. To explore the influence of these warm and seasonally variable habitats on reef calcification, we measured in situ calcification of primary and secondary reef-builders in the central Red Sea. We collected calcification rates on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora, and also on calcareous crusts (CC). The study comprised forereef and backreef environments of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient assessed over four seasons of the year. Calcification patterns of all coral genera were consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In contrast to the corals, CC calcification strongly increased with distance from shore, but varied to a lesser extend over the seasons demonstrating lower calcification rates during spring and summer. Interestingly, reef calcification rates in the central Red Sea were on average in the range of data reported from the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific. For Acropora, annual average calcification rates were even at the lower end in comparison to studies from other locations. While coral calcification maxima typically have been observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, we observed calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicating that summer temperatures may exceed the optima of reef calcifiers. Our study provides a baseline of calcification data for the region and serves as a foundation for comparative efforts to quantify the impact of future environmental change.

  8. Lag effects in the impacts of mass coral bleaching on coral reef fish, fisheries, and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Jennings, Simon; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Robinson, Jan; Bijoux, Jude P; Daw, Tim M

    2007-10-01

    Recent episodes of coral bleaching have led to wide-scale loss of reef corals and raised concerns over the effectiveness of existing conservation and management efforts. The 1998 bleaching event was most severe in the western Indian Ocean, where coral declined by up to 90% in some locations. Using fisheries-independent data, we assessed the long-term impacts of this event on fishery target species in the Seychelles, the overall size structure of the fish assemblage, and the effectiveness of two marine protected areas (MPAs) in protecting fish communities. The biomass of fished species above the size retained in fish traps changed little between 1994 and 2005, indicating no current effect on fishery yields. Biomass remained higher in MPAs, indicating they were effective in protecting fish stocks. Nevertheless, the size structure of the fish communities, as described with size-spectra analysis, changed in both fished areas and MPAs, with a decline in smaller fish (<30 cm) and an increase in larger fish (>45 cm). We believe this represents a time-lag response to a reduction in reef structural complexity brought about because fishes are being lost through natural mortality and fishing, and are not being replaced by juveniles. This effect is expected to be greater in terms of fisheries productivity and, because congruent patterns are observed for herbivores, suggests that MPAs do not offer coral reefs long-term resilience to bleaching events. Corallivores and planktivores declined strikingly in abundance, particularly in MPAs, and this decline was associated with a similar pattern of decline in their preferred corals. We suggest that climate-mediated disturbances, such as coral bleaching, be at the fore of conservation planning for coral reefs.

  9. Environmental distribution of coral-associated relatives of apicomplexan parasites.

    PubMed

    Janouškovec, Jan; Horák, Aleš; Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L; Keeling, Patrick J

    2013-02-01

    A lineage of plastid-bearing eukaryotic microbes that is closely related to apicomplexan parasites was recently found in a specific association with coral reefs (apicomplexan-related lineage-V, or ARL-V). Here, we address the possible nature of this association using plastid 'contamination' in fine-scale bacterial sequence surveys. In a transect between corals and associated macroalgae, ARL-V is specifically associated with the coral, in contrast to all microalgal types (including diatoms, haptophytes, pelagophytes and photosynthetic apicomplexan relatives, Chromera and Vitrella), which are associated with macroalgae. ARL-V is associated with at least 20 species of symbiotic corals through extended time periods and large geographic distances. It is significantly enriched in healthy coral tissue and shallow reef depths. Altogether, the evidence points to a specific relationship between ARL-V and corals, and is suggestive of symbiosis, perhaps based on photosynthesis.

  10. Data-driven models for regional coral-reef dynamics.

    PubMed

    Żychaluk, Kamila; Bruno, John F; Clancy, Damian; McClanahan, Tim R; Spencer, Matthew

    2012-02-01

    Coral reefs have been affected by natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Coral cover has declined on many reefs, and macroalgae have increased on some. The existence of alternative stable states with high or low coral cover has been widely debated, but not clearly established. We evaluate the evidence for alternative stable states in benthic coral-reef dynamics in the Caribbean, Kenya and Great Barrier Reef (GBR), using stochastic semi-parametric models based on large numbers of time series of cover of hard corals, macroalgae and other components. Only the GBR showed a consistent short-term regional decline in coral cover. There was no evidence for regional increases in macroalgae. The equilibrium distributions of our models were close to recently observed distributions, and differed among regions. In all three regions, the equilibrium distributions were unimodal rather than bimodal, and thus did not suggest the existence of alternative stable states on a regional scale, under current conditions.

  11. Lectins stain cells differentially in the coral, Montipora capitata

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Farah, Yael

    2014-01-01

    A limitation in our understanding of coral disease pathology and cellular pathogenesis is a lack of reagents to characterize coral cells. We evaluated the utility of plant lectins to stain tissues of a dominant coral, Montipora capitata, from Hawaii. Of 22 lectins evaluated, nine of these stained structures in the upper or basal body wall of corals. Specific structures revealed by lectins that were not considered distinct or evident on routine hematoxylin and eosin sections of coral tissues included apical and basal granules in gastrodermis and epidermis, cnidoglandular tract and actinopharynx cell surface membranes, capsules of mature holotrichous isorhizas, and perivitelline and periseminal cells. Plant lectins could prove useful to further our understanding of coral physiology, anatomy, cell biology, and disease pathogenesis.

  12. A comparison of proxy performance in coral biodiversity monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richards, Zoe T.

    2013-03-01

    The productivity and health of coral reef habitat is diminishing worldwide; however, the effect that habitat declines have on coral reef biodiversity is not known. Logistical and financial constraints mean that surveys of hard coral communities rarely collect data at the species level; hence it is important to know if there are proxy metrics that can reliably predict biodiversity. Here, the performances of six proxy metrics are compared using regression analyses on survey data from a location in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Results suggest generic richness is a strong explanatory variable for spatial patterns in species richness (explaining 82 % of the variation when measured on a belt transect). The most commonly used metric of reef health, percentage live coral cover, is not positively or linearly related to hard coral species richness. This result raises doubt as to whether management actions based on such reefscape information will be effective for the conservation of coral biodiversity.

  13. Resilience of corals to hurricanes: a simulation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andres, N. G.; Rodenhouse, N. L.

    1993-11-01

    This study tested how the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, and the size and growth rate of coral colonies influence the resilience of coral populations to disturbance by severe storms. A simulation modelling approach was used to examine the resilience of four coral species with differing life history characteristics: Agaricia agaricites, A. lamarcki, Helioseris cucullata, and Porites astreoides. Resilience, defined as the rate of area (coral cover) gain, was greater for three of the species when storms were less frequent or more intense. Resilience for all species increased with colony growth rates and with increasing proportion of small and medium-sized colonies. We conclude that (1) coral populations composed of intermediate-size, fast-growing colonies the most resilient following one or more storm disturbances, and (2) that resilience of anthropogenically stressed corals depends, in part, on population size structure.

  14. [Infrared spectroscopy and XRD studies of coral fossils].

    PubMed

    Chen, Quan-li; Zhou, Guan-min; Yin, Zuo-wei

    2012-08-01

    Coral fossil is an old remain of multicellular animal on the earth, and formed by various geological processes. The structural characteristics and compositions of the coral fossils with different color and radial texture on the surface were studied by infrared absorption spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction analyses. The results show that the studied coral fossils mainly are composed of SiO2, and the radial microstructure characterized by the calcareous coral cross-section is preserved. It is formed by metasomatism by SiO2. The infrared absorption spectra of the coral fossil with different color and texture are essentially the same, showing typical infrared absorption spectra of the quartz jade. XRD analysis shows that the main components of the coral fossils with different color and texture are consistent and mainly composed of SiO2 with a trace amount of other minerals and without CaCO3.

  15. Defining the Core Microbiome in Corals' Microbial Soup.

    PubMed

    Hernandez-Agreda, Alejandra; Gates, Ruth D; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2017-02-01

    Corals are considered one of the most complex microbial biospheres studied to date, hosting thousands of bacterial phylotypes in species-specific associations. There are, however, substantial knowledge gaps and challenges in understanding the functional significance of bacterial communities and bacterial symbioses of corals. The ubiquitous nature of some bacterial interactions has only recently been investigated and an accurate differentiation between the healthy (symbiotic) and unhealthy (dysbiotic) microbial state has not yet been determined. Here we review the complexity of the coral holobiont, coral microbiome diversity, and recently proposed bacterial symbioses of corals. We provide insight into coupling the core microbiome framework with community ecology principals, and draw on the theoretical insights from other complex systems, to build a framework to aid in deciphering ecologically significant microbes within a corals' microbial soup.

  16. Microbiota of the major South Atlantic reef building coral Mussismilia.

    PubMed

    Fernando, Samodha C; Wang, Jia; Sparling, Kimberly; Garcia, Gizele D; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B; de Moura, Rodrigo L; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Thompson, Fabiano L; Thompson, Janelle R

    2015-02-01

    The Brazilian endemic scleractinian corals, genus Mussismilia, are among the main reef builders of the South Atlantic and are threatened by accelerating rates of disease. To better understand how holobiont microbial populations interact with corals during health and disease and to evaluate whether selective pressures in the holobiont or neutral assembly shape microbial composition, we have examined the microbiota structure of Mussismilia corals according to coral lineage, environment, and disease/health status. Microbiota of three Mussismilia species (Mussismilia harttii, Mussismilia hispida, and Mussismilia braziliensis) was compared using 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and clone library analysis of coral fragments. Analysis of biological triplicates per Mussismilia species and reef site allowed assessment of variability among Mussismilia species and between sites for M. braziliensis. From 173,487 V6 sequences, 6,733 coral- and 1,052 water-associated operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were observed. M. braziliensis microbiota was more similar across reefs than to other Mussismilia species microbiota from the same reef. Highly prevalent OTUs were more significantly structured by coral lineage and were enriched in Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria. Bacterial OTUs from healthy corals were recovered from a M. braziliensis skeleton sample at twice the frequency of recovery from water or a diseased coral suggesting the skeleton is a significant habitat for microbial populations in the holobiont. Diseased corals were enriched with pathogens and opportunists (Vibrios, Bacteroidetes, Thalassomonas, and SRB). Our study examines for the first time intra- and inter-specific variability of microbiota across the genus Mussismilia. Changes in microbiota may be useful indicators of coral health and thus be a valuable tool for coral reef management and conservation.

  17. GODAE Inter-Comparisons in the Tasman and Coral Seas

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-08-01

    GODAE inter-comparisons in the Tasman and Coral Seas 11Volume 5 No 2 August 2012 Journal of Operational Oceanography GODAE inter-comparisons in...the Tasman and Coral Seas LEAD AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHY Peter Oke is a Research Scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research...compared for the Tasman and Coral Seas , off eastern Australia. Systems considered include those developed in Australia, France, the USA, and the UK

  18. Low coral cover in a high-CO2 world

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2005-09-01

    Coral reefs generally exist within a relatively narrow band of temperatures, light, and seawater aragonite saturation states. The growth of coral reefs is minimal or nonexistent outside this envelope. Climate change, through its effect on ocean temperature, has already had an impact on the world's coral reefs, with almost 30% of corals having disappeared since the beginning of the 1980s. Abnormally warm temperatures cause corals to bleach (lose their brown dinoflagellate symbionts) and, if elevated for long enough, to die. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is also potentially affecting coral reefs by lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater, making carbonate ions less available for calcification. The synergistic interaction of elevated temperature and CO2 is likely to produce major changes to coral reefs over the next few decades and centuries. Known tolerances of corals to projected changes to sea temperatures indicate that corals are unlikely to remain abundant on reefs and could be rare by the middle of this century if the atmospheric CO2 concentration doubles or triples. The combination of changes to sea temperature and carbonate ion availability could trigger large-scale changes in the biodiversity and function of coral reefs. The ramifications of these changes for the hundred of millions of coral reef-dependent people and industries living in a high-CO2 world have yet to be properly defined. The weight of evidence suggests, however, that projected changes will cause major shifts in the prospects for industries and societies that depend on having healthy coral reefs along their coastlines.

  19. Diverse coral communities thrive in acidified western Pacific waters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-03-01

    Ocean acidification, a growing problem associated with increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, can disrupt the lives of many marine species. Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable because the increased CO2 concentration in seawater—which combines with water to form carbonic acid—makes it hard for corals to grow. Models, observations, and lab studies consistently predict that as the ocean becomes more acidic, coral cover and diversity will decrease.

  20. Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Coral Photosynthesis and Calcification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Higuchi, T.; Fujimura, H.; Arakaki, T.; Oomori, T.

    2007-12-01

    The widely-observed decline of coral reefs is considered to be caused by changes in the environment by natural and anthropogenic activities. As one important factor, the run-off of various matters from human activities to the coastal seawater poses stresses to the corals by degrading the quality of the seawater. In Okinawa, Japan, red- soil running off from the developed land has been a major environmental issue since 1980s. Hydrogen peroxide (HOOH), a strong active oxygen species, is one of the photochemically formed chemicals in the red-soil-polluted seawater. Recent photochemical studies of seawater showed that HOOH photo-formation was faster in the red- soil-polluted seawater than clean seawater. We studied the effects of HOOH on corals by studying the changes in coral carbon metabolisms such as photosynthesis and calcification, which are indicators of the physiological state of a coral colony. The corals were exposed to various concentrations of HOOH (0, 0.3, 3 μM). Two massive coral species of Porites sp. and Goniastrea aspera and one branch coral of Galaxea facicularis were used for the exposure experiments. The control experiments showed that when no HOOH was added, metabolisms of each coral colony were relatively stable. On the other hand, when HOOH was added to the seawater, we observed obvious changes in the coral metabolisms in all the coral species. When 0.3 μM HOOH was added, photosynthesis decreased by 14% and calcification decreased by 17% within 3 days, compared with the control. When 3 μM HOOH was added, photosynthesis decreased by 21% and calcification decreased by 41% within 3 days, compared with the control. Our study showed that higher concentrations of HOOH posed more stress to the coral colonies.

  1. Chemotaxis by natural populations of coral reef bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Petrou, Katherina; Tyson, Gene W; Webster, Nicole S; Garren, Melissa; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2015-01-01

    Corals experience intimate associations with distinct populations of marine microorganisms, but the microbial behaviours underpinning these relationships are poorly understood. There is evidence that chemotaxis is pivotal to the infection process of corals by pathogenic bacteria, but this evidence is limited to experiments using cultured isolates under laboratory conditions. We measured the chemotactic capabilities of natural populations of coral-associated bacteria towards chemicals released by corals and their symbionts, including amino acids, carbohydrates, ammonium and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Laboratory experiments, using a modified capillary assay, and in situ measurements, using a novel microfabricated in situ chemotaxis assay, were employed to quantify the chemotactic responses of natural microbial assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef. Both approaches showed that bacteria associated with the surface of the coral species Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora aspera exhibited significant levels of chemotaxis, particularly towards DMSP and amino acids, and that these levels of chemotaxis were significantly higher than that of bacteria inhabiting nearby, non-coral-associated waters. This pattern was supported by a significantly higher abundance of chemotaxis and motility genes in metagenomes within coral-associated water types. The phylogenetic composition of the coral-associated chemotactic microorganisms, determined using 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, differed from the community in the seawater surrounding the coral and comprised known coral associates, including potentially pathogenic Vibrio species. These findings indicate that motility and chemotaxis are prevalent phenotypes among coral-associated bacteria, and we propose that chemotaxis has an important role in the establishment and maintenance of specific coral–microbe associations, which may ultimately influence the health and stability of the coral holobiont. PMID:25615440

  2. Physiological and Biogeochemical Traits of Bleaching and Recovery in the Mounding Species of Coral Porites lobata: Implications for Resilience in Mounding Corals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-05-02

    biomass. With the frequency and intensity of bleaching events expected to increase over the next century, coral diversity on future reefs may favor not...coming decades [4,6,7], and are already causing mass coral reef decline worldwide [8]. Coral bleaching suscepti- bility has been directly linked to the... bleaching in mounding and branching corals is essential to projecting how coral reef assemblages will change in the future. Thus, to determine how

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

    PubMed

    Forsman, Zac H; Page, Christopher A; Toonen, Robert J; Vaughan, David

    2015-01-01

    Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1-3 cm(2)) fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month) followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm(2) per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and Solutions (Coral Reefs: Values, Threats, and the Marine Aquarium Trade)

    SciTech Connect

    Shuman, Craig S.

    2003-02-05

    Second only to tropical rainforests, coral reefs support one of the world's most diverse natural habitats. Over 350 million individuals depend on coral reef resources for food and income. Unfortunately, the Earth is in the midst of a coral reef crisis. Anthropogenic impacts including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, sedimentation and pollution, as well as global climate change, have served to disrupt the natural processes that maintain the health of these ecosystems. Until recently, however, the global extent of the coral reef crisis was unknown. Reef Check was developed in 1996 as a volunteer, community-based monitoring protocol designed to measure the health of coral reefs on a global scale. With goals of education, monitoring, and management, Reef Check has activities in over 60 countries and territories. They have not only provided scientific evidence of the global extent of the coral reef crisis, but have provided the first community based steps to alleviate this urgent situation.

  7. Analysis of the coral associated bacterial community structures in healthy and diseased corals from off-shore of southern Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Chiou, Shu-Fen; Kuo, Jimmy; Wong, Tit-Yee; Fan, Tung-Yung; Tew, Kwee Siong; Liu, Jong-Kang

    2010-07-01

    The methods of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing were used to analyze the ribotypes of microbial communities associated with corals. Both healthy and diseased coral of different species were collected at three locations off the southern coast of Taiwan. Ribotyping results suggested that the microbial communities were diverse. The microbial community profiles, even among the same species of corals from different geographical locations, differ significantly. The coral-associated bacterial communities contain many bacteria common to the habitants of various invertebrates. However, some bacteria were unexpected. The presence of some unusual species, such as Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Legionella, associated with corals that were likely the results of human activities. Human activities, such as thermal pollution from the nearby nuclear plant, active fishing and tourism industries in the region might have all contributed to the change in bacterial communities and the death of coral colonies around the region.

  8. Discovery of a Cretaceous Scleractinian Coral with a Calcitic Skeleton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stolarski, J.; Meibom, A.; Przenioslo, R.; Mazur, M.

    2007-12-01

    It has been generally thought that scleractinian corals form purely aragonitic skeletons. We show that a well- preserved fossil coral, Coelosmilia sp. from the Upper Cretaceous (ca. 70 Ma), has preserved skeletal structural features identical to those observed in present day scleractinians. However, the skeleton of Coelosmilia sp. is entirely calcitic. Its fine-scale structure and chemistry indicate that the calcite is primary and did not from via diagenetic alteration of aragonite. This result implies that corals, like other groups of marine, calcium carbonate- producing organisms, can form skeletons of different carbonate polymorphs. Implications for coral biomineralization and evolution will be discussed.

  9. 10th Anniversary Review: a changing climate for coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Lough, Janice M

    2008-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are charismatic ecosystems that house a significant proportion of the world's marine biodiversity. Their valuable goods and services are fundamental to the livelihood of large coastal populations in the tropics. The health of many of the world's coral reefs, and the goods and services they provide, have already been severely compromised, largely due to over-exploitation by a range of human activities. These local-scale impacts, with the appropriate government instruments, support and management actions, can potentially be controlled and even ameliorated. Unfortunately, other human actions (largely in countries outside of the tropics), by changing global climate, have added additional global-scale threats to the continued survival of present-day coral reefs. Moderate warming of the tropical oceans has already resulted in an increase in mass coral bleaching events, affecting nearly all of the world's coral reef regions. The frequency of these events will only increase as global temperatures continue to rise. Weakening of coral reef structures will be a more insidious effect of changing ocean chemistry, as the oceans absorb part of the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. More intense tropical cyclones, changed atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns will all affect coral reef ecosystems and the many associated plants and animals. Coral reefs will not disappear but their appearance, structure and community make-up will radically change. Drastic greenhouse gas mitigation strategies are necessary to prevent the full consequences of human activities causing such alterations to coral reef ecosystems.

  10. DoD Coral Reef Protection and Management Program

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-08-01

    DoD Coral Reef Protection and Management Program (CRTF) goals are to 1) Ensure sustainable use of marine resources for DoD operations and training...exercises. 2) Identify and map locations of DoD coral reef ecosystems. 3) Inventory and monitor coral resources and tropical near-shore environments. 4...training for active duty DoD divers. 6) Support U.S. Coral Reef Task Force initiatives. 7) Promote interagency cooperation. 8) Promote DoD stewardship, education and public outreach.

  11. Corals of Madison Group (Mississippian), Williston Basin, North Dakota

    SciTech Connect

    Waters, D.L.; Holland, F.D. Jr.

    1983-08-01

    Coral faunas studied from subsurface cores of the Mississippian Madison Group in the Williston Basin of North Dakota indicate that Sando's coral zones for outcrops in western North America can be extended into the subsurface of North Dakota. Coral zones II and III are recognized as corresponding roughly to lower and upper Mission Canyon strata, respectively. These data were obtained from 12 wells along the northern border of North Dakota in Divide, Burke, Renville, and Bottineau Counties, and two wells near the center of Williston basin in Dunn and McKenzie Counties. Corals found in dark argillaceous crinoid-skeletal wackestones representing deeper waters are robust, and this may infer a hospitable environment for their growth. However, evidence from the coral and lithologic associations refute the pervading dogma that the occurrence of corals is strictly facies controlled. Abundant smaller corals have been found from buff-colored skeletal wackestones and algal mudstones which alternate with subaqueous anhydrites representing a marginal marine environment. In addition, corals have been found in buff-colored skeletal and peloidal grainstones of adjacent shoals and in brown pisolitic-oolitic packstones-wackestones of possible tidal ponds. These latter deposits may represent allochthonous accumulations, but the amount of time involved in transport of corals would not invalidate their usefulness as biostratigraphic tools.

  12. Trophic cascade facilitates coral recruitment in a marine reserve

    PubMed Central

    Mumby, Peter J.; Harborne, Alastair R.; Williams, Jodene; Kappel, Carrie V.; Brumbaugh, Daniel R.; Micheli, Fiorenza; Holmes, Katherine E.; Dahlgren, Craig P.; Paris, Claire B.; Blackwell, Paul G.

    2007-01-01

    Reduced fishing pressure and weak predator–prey interactions within marine reserves can create trophic cascades that increase the number of grazing fishes and reduce the coverage of macroalgae on coral reefs. Here, we show that the impacts of reserves extend beyond trophic cascades and enhance the process of coral recruitment. Increased fish grazing, primarily driven by reduced fishing, was strongly negatively correlated with macroalgal cover and resulted in a 2-fold increase in the density of coral recruits within a Bahamian reef system. Our conclusions are robust because four alternative hypotheses that may generate a spurious correlation between grazing and coral recruitment were tested and rejected. Grazing appears to influence the density and community structure of coral recruits, but no detectable influence was found on the overall size-frequency distribution, community structure, or cover of corals. We interpret this absence of pattern in the adult coral community as symptomatic of the impact of a recent disturbance event that masks the recovery trajectories of individual reefs. Marine reserves are not a panacea for conservation but can facilitate the recovery of corals from disturbance and may help sustain the biodiversity of organisms that depend on a complex three-dimensional coral habitat. PMID:17488824

  13. Changes to coral health and metabolic activity under oxygen deprivation.

    PubMed

    Murphy, James W A; Richmond, Robert H

    2016-01-01

    On Hawaiian reefs, the fast-growing, invasive algae Gracilaria salicornia overgrows coral heads, restricting water flow and light, thereby smothering corals. Field data shows hypoxic conditions (dissolved oxygen (DO2) < 2 mg/L) occurring underneath algal mats at night, and concurrent bleaching and partial tissue loss of shaded corals. To analyze the impact of nighttime oxygen-deprivation on coral health, this study evaluated changes in coral metabolism through the exposure of corals to chronic hypoxic conditions and subsequent analyses of lactate, octopine, alanopine, and strombine dehydrogenase activities, critical enzymes employed through anaerobic respiration. Following treatments, lactate and octopine dehydrogenase activities were found to have no significant response in activities with treatment and time. However, corals subjected to chronic nighttime hypoxia were found to exhibit significant increases in alanopine dehydrogenase activity after three days of exposure and strombine dehydrogenase activity starting after one overnight exposure cycle. These findings provide new insights into coral metabolic shifts in extremely low-oxygen environments and point to ADH and SDH assays as tools for quantifying the impact of hypoxia on coral health.

  14. Geochemical consequences of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on coral reefs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kleypas, J.A.; Buddemeier, R.W.; Archer, D.; Gattuso, J.-P.; Langdon, C.; Opdyke, B.N.

    1999-01-01

    A coral reef represents the net accumulation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) produced by corals and other calcifying organisms. If calcification declines, then reef-building capacity also declines. Coral reef calcification depends on the saturation state of the carbonate mineral aragonite of surface waters. By the middle of the next century, an increased concentration of carbon dioxide will decrease the aragonite saturation state in the tropics by 30 percent and biogenic aragonite precipitation by 14 to 30 percent. Coral reefs are particularly threatened, because reef-building organisms secrete metastable forms of CaCO3, but the biogeochemical consequences on other calcifying marine ecosystems may be equally severe.

  15. Flexibility in Algal Endosymbioses Shapes Growth in Reef Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Little, Angela F.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Willis, Bette L.

    2004-06-01

    The relation between corals and their algal endosymbionts has been a key to the success of scleractinian (stony) corals as modern reef-builders, but little is known about early stages in the establishment of the symbiosis. Here, we show that initial uptake of zooxanthellae by juvenile corals during natural infection is nonspecific (a potentially adaptive trait); the association is flexible and characterized by a change in (dominant) zooxanthella strains over time; and growth rates of experimentally infected coral holobionts are partly contingent on the zooxanthella strain harbored, with clade C-infected juveniles growing two to three times as fast as those infected with clade D.

  16. Coral-the world's most diverse symbiotic ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Blackall, Linda L; Wilson, Bryan; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2015-11-01

    Zooxanthellate corals (i.e. those harbouring Symbiodinium) are the main builders of the world's shallow-water marine coral reefs. They represent intimate diverse symbioses between coral animals, single-celled photosynthetic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.), other microscopic eukaryotes, prokaryotes and viruses. Crabs and other crustaceans, worms, sponges, bivalves and hydrozoans, fishes, sea urchins, octopuses and sea stars are itinerant members of these 'rainforests of the sea'. This review focuses on the biodiversity of scleractinian coral animals and their best studied microscopic epi- and endosymbionts. In relation to coral-associated species diversity, Symbiodinium internal transcribed spacer region sequence types tally 10(2) -10(3) or up to ~15 different operational taxonomic units (OTUs, or putative species at the 97% sequence identity level; this cut-off was chosen based on intragenomic sequence diversity observed in monoclonal cultures) and prokaryotes (mostly bacterial) total 10(2) -10(4) OTUs. We analysed all publically accessible 16S rRNA gene sequence data and found Gammaproteobacteria were extremely abundant, followed by Alphaproteobacteria. Notably, Archaea were poorly represented and 'unassigned OTUs' were abundant in data generated by high-throughput DNA sequencing studies of corals. We outline and compare model systems that could be used in future studies of the coral holobiont. In our future directions, we recommend a global coral sampling effort including substantial attention being paid to method of coral tissue acquisition, which compartments (mucus, tissue, skeleton) to explore, broadening the holobiont members considered and linking biodiversity with functional investigations.

  17. Changes to coral health and metabolic activity under oxygen deprivation

    PubMed Central

    Richmond, Robert H.

    2016-01-01

    On Hawaiian reefs, the fast-growing, invasive algae Gracilaria salicornia overgrows coral heads, restricting water flow and light, thereby smothering corals. Field data shows hypoxic conditions (dissolved oxygen (DO2) < 2 mg/L) occurring underneath algal mats at night, and concurrent bleaching and partial tissue loss of shaded corals. To analyze the impact of nighttime oxygen-deprivation on coral health, this study evaluated changes in coral metabolism through the exposure of corals to chronic hypoxic conditions and subsequent analyses of lactate, octopine, alanopine, and strombine dehydrogenase activities, critical enzymes employed through anaerobic respiration. Following treatments, lactate and octopine dehydrogenase activities were found to have no significant response in activities with treatment and time. However, corals subjected to chronic nighttime hypoxia were found to exhibit significant increases in alanopine dehydrogenase activity after three days of exposure and strombine dehydrogenase activity starting after one overnight exposure cycle. These findings provide new insights into coral metabolic shifts in extremely low-oxygen environments and point to ADH and SDH assays as tools for quantifying the impact of hypoxia on coral health. PMID:27114888

  18. African and Asian dust: from desert soils to coral reefs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, Virginia H.; Shinn, Eugene A.; Foreman, William T.; Griffin, Dale W.; Holmes, Charles W.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Majewski, Michael S.; Richardson, Laurie L.; Ritchie, Kim B.; Smith, Garriet W.

    2003-01-01

    Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the decline of coral reefs throughout the world, but none adequately accounts for the lack of recovery of reefs or the wide geographical distribution of coral diseases. The processes driving the decline remain elusive. Hundreds of millions of tons of dust transported annually from Africa and Asia to the Americas may be adversely affecting coral reefs and other downwind ecosystems. Viable microorganisms, macro- and micronutrients, trace metals, and an array of organic contaminants carried in the dust air masses and deposited in the oceans and on land may play important roles in the complex changes occurring on coral reefs worldwide.

  19. Coral bleaching: a potential biomarker of environmental stress.

    PubMed

    Meehan, W J; Ostrander, G K

    1997-04-25

    Coral bleaching refers to the loss of symbiotic algae by host corals, or to the loss of pigmentation by the algae themselves, causing corals to appear white or "bleached." Some corals may regain algae or pigmentation and survive, but when bleaching is severe the host coral dies. Coral bleaching events have increased dramatically in the last two decades, and coral reefs throughout the world have been extensively degraded as a result. This article reviews coral bleaching for investigators working in the field of toxicology and environmental health, a group of scientists not normally exposed to this issue. Several environmental stressors have been correlated with bleaching, including fluctuations in sea surface temperatures and salinity, increased sedimentation, increased solar radiation, and contaminants such as oil and herbicides. Molecular mechanisms of bleaching are only beginning to be investigated and are thus far poorly understood. Toxicologists have the potential to make significant contributions toward understanding anthropogenic aspects of coral bleaching and elucidating molecular mechanisms of this important environmental problem.

  20. Lipid biomarkers of thermal stress in scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kneeland, J. M.; Hughen, K.; Cervino, J.; Eglinton, T. I.; Bartels, E.

    2007-12-01

    Lipid content and fatty acid profiles of corals and their symbiotic dinoflagellates are known to vary in response to heat stress and bleaching. To develop lipid biomarkers of heat stress and bleaching response in scleractinian corals, clones of Symbiodinium algae of clade subtypes C1 and D1 were cultured under a range of temperatures. The predominant lipids produced are palmitic (C16) and stearic (C18) saturated fatty acids and their unsaturated analogs. Other important compounds included a C22 penta-unsaturated fatty acid, which is thought to be a specific dinoflagellate marker, and a variety of sterols. Analysis of lipids extracted from coral skeleton indicated that palmitic and stearic acids were the most abundant compounds. The amount of unsaturated C16 and C18 fatty acids in coral skeleton relative to the saturated versions of those acids was much lower in coral skeleton than in the zooxanthellae tissue. This could indicate the incorporation of lipids from outside the coral host-symbiont system into the coral aragonite, or it could reflect diagenesis. A comparison between the lipids found in cloned zooxanthellae, coral tissue, and aragonitic skeleton will be presented to assess the usefulness of lipid biomarkers as indicators of temperature stress on corals.

  1. Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

  2. Temperature and Light Effects on Extracellular Superoxide Production by Algal and Bacterial Symbionts in Corals: Implications for Coral Bleaching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brighi, C.; Diaz, J. M.; Apprill, A.; Hansel, C. M.

    2014-12-01

    Increased surface seawater temperature due to global warming is one of the main causes of coral bleaching, a phenomenon in which corals lose their photosynthetic algae. Light and temperature induced production of superoxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) by these symbiotic algae has been implicated in the breakdown of their symbiotic association with the coral host and subsequent coral bleaching. Nevertheless, a direct link between Symbiodinium ROS production and coral bleaching has not been demonstrated. In fact, given the abundance and diversity of microorganisms within the coral holobiont, the concentration and fluxes of ROS within corals may involve several microbial sources and sinks. Here, we explore the role of increased light and temperature on superoxide production by coral-derived cultures of Symbiodinium algae and Oceanospirillales bacteria of the genus Endozoicomonas, which are globally common and abundant associates of corals. Using a high sensitivity chemiluminescent technique, we find that heat stress (exposure to 34°C vs. 23°C for 2hr or 24hr) has no significant effect on extracellular superoxide production by Symbiodinium isolates within clades B and C, regardless of the level of light exposure. Exposure to high light, however, increased superoxide production by these organisms at both 34°C and 23°C. On the other hand, extracellular superoxide production by Endozoicomonas bacteria tested under the same conditions was stimulated by the combined effects of thermal and light stress. The results of this research suggest that the sources and physical triggers for biological superoxide production within corals are more complex than currently assumed. Thus, further investigations into the biological processes controlling ROS dynamics within corals are required to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning coral bleaching and to aid in the development of mitigation strategies.

  3. Large-amplitude internal waves sustain coral health during thermal stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Gertraud M.; Wall, Marlene; Taylor, Marc; Jantzen, Carin; Richter, Claudio

    2016-09-01

    Ocean warming is a major threat for coral reefs causing widespread coral bleaching and mortality. Potential refugia are thus crucial for coral survival. Exposure to large-amplitude internal waves (LAIW) mitigated heat stress and ensured coral survival and recovery during and after an extreme heat anomaly. The physiological status of two common corals, Porites lutea and Pocillopora meandrina, was monitored in host and symbiont traits, in response to LAIW-exposure throughout the unprecedented 2010 heat anomaly in the Andaman Sea. LAIW-exposed corals of both species survived and recovered, while LAIW-sheltered corals suffered partial and total mortality in P. lutea and P. meandrina, respectively. LAIW are ubiquitous in the tropics and potentially generate coral refuge areas. As thermal stress to corals is expected to increase in a warming ocean, the mechanisms linking coral bleaching to ocean dynamics will be crucial to predict coral survival on a warming planet.

  4. Meiofauna associated with a Pacific coral reef in Costa Rica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzmán, Héctor M.; Obando, Vilma L.; Cortés, Jorge

    1987-10-01

    The meiofauna of two coral reef habitats at Isla del Naño, Costa Rica was studied over a one year period. The dominant groups were: Foraminifera (21.2%), Copepoda (19.7%), Nematoda (19.1%), Gastropoda (16.5%), Polychaeta (7.2%) and Bivalvia (6.6%). The highest diversity was found in coarse, heterogeneous sands with the highest percentage of carbonates. The meiofauna showed a high degree of horizontal aggregation, which is a characteristic pattern for macro- and meiofauna in sediments of variable composition. No vertical variation in distribution was evident, probably due to the deep location of the Redox Potential Discontinuity layer. The total densities of organisms found in this study (99 to 575 ind/10 cm2) are low compared with densities in similar non-reefal sands (7 to 6116), and from fine sediments (80 to 17 000), but are comparable to densities found in other reef areas (39 to 609.5 ind/10 cm2). This is the first report on meiofauna from the eastern Pacific, and the first time that foraminiferans are the dominant group.

  5. Impacts of the 1998 and 2010 mass coral bleaching events on the Western Gulf of Thailand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutthacheep, Makamas; Yucharoen, Mathinee; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Yeemin, Thamasak

    2013-11-01

    A long-term study of coral reef ecology in the Gulf of Thailand provides a good opportunity to examine the temporal variation on the impact of mass coral bleaching at those reef sites. We compared the bleaching and mortality of corals between the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 at a coral community in the Western Gulf of Thailand. The aim was to identify the coral species which were most likely to suffer from (and to be able to tolerate) changes in seawater temperature. Significant differences in the susceptibility of the coral taxa to bleaching events between the years 1998 and 2010 and among coral species were documented. Bleaching was significantly different between the most dominant corals. Diploastrea heliopora was the most resistant coral to bleaching in both years. Some coral species showed more resistance to bleaching in 2010. The coral mortality following the mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2010 varied significantly between the years and the coral taxa. Mortality of some dominant coral taxa was also lower in 2010. Seven coral species, i.e. Astreopora myriophthalma, Pachyseris rugosa, Turbinaria mesenterina, Goniastrea pectinata, Favia pallida, F. maritima, Favites halicora, Platygyra daedalea and Galaxea fascicularis, were tolerant to the coral bleaching events. An ecosystem-based approach to managing coral reefs in the Gulf of Thailand is needed to identify appropriate marine protected area networks and to strengthen marine and coastal resource policies in order to build coral reef resilience.

  6. Investing in sustainability at Coral World

    SciTech Connect

    Jackson, O.

    2000-08-01

    Now open and operational for several years, Coral World offers a unique environmental model for other tourism-related facilities throughout the Caribbean and beyond. The extensive energy conservation program has yielded a 40 to 50% reduction in energy use and costs. The facility's unique on-site storm water absorption system virtually eliminates silt runoff to the coastal waters. The innovative, highly cost-effective series of renewable energy installations include a photovoltaic-powered restaurant kitchen, solar hot water systems and one of the world's first hydroelectric systems that uses wastewater drainage for turbine source waters. The extensive marine environmental conservation program protects fragile local ecosystems while also protecting the owners' investment in tourism. By investing aggressively in sustainability, Coral World's owners are reaping the benefits not only in reduced operating costs and improved profitability, but also in increased visitor volume and satisfaction.

  7. Quaternary coral reef refugia preserved fish diversity.

    PubMed

    Pellissier, Loïc; Leprieur, Fabien; Parravicini, Valeriano; Cowman, Peter F; Kulbicki, Michel; Litsios, Glenn; Olsen, Steffen M; Wisz, Mary S; Bellwood, David R; Mouillot, David

    2014-05-30

    The most prominent pattern in global marine biogeography is the biodiversity peak in the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Yet the processes that underpin this pattern are still actively debated. By reconstructing global marine paleoenvironments over the past 3 million years on the basis of sediment cores, we assessed the extent to which Quaternary climate fluctuations can explain global variation in current reef fish richness. Comparing global historical coral reef habitat availability with the present-day distribution of 6316 reef fish species, we find that distance from stable coral reef habitats during historical periods of habitat loss explains 62% of the variation in fish richness, outweighing present-day environmental factors. Our results highlight the importance of habitat persistence during periods of climate change for preserving marine biodiversity.

  8. Predator cognition permits imperfect coral snake mimicry.

    PubMed

    Kikuchi, David W; Pfennig, David W

    2010-12-01

    Batesian mimicry is often imprecise. An underexplored explanation for imperfect mimicry is that predators might not be able to use all dimensions of prey phenotype to distinguish mimics from models and thus permit imperfect mimicry to persist. We conducted a field experiment to test whether or not predators can distinguish deadly coral snakes (Micrurus fulvius) from nonvenomous scarlet kingsnakes (Lampropeltis elapsoides). Although the two species closely resemble one another, the order of colored rings that encircle their bodies differs. Despite this imprecise mimicry, we found that L. elapsoides that match coral snakes in other respects are not under selection to match the ring order of their model. We suggest that L. elapsoides have evolved only those signals necessary to deceive predators. Generally, imperfect mimicry might suffice if it exploits limitations in predator cognitive abilities.

  9. Extinction vulnerability of coral reef fishes

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chabanet, Pascale; Evans, Richard D; Jennings, Simon; Letourneur, Yves; Aaron MacNeil, M; McClanahan, Tim R; Öhman, Marcus C; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Wilson, Shaun K

    2011-01-01

    With rapidly increasing rates of contemporary extinction, predicting extinction vulnerability and identifying how multiple stressors drive non-random species loss have become key challenges in ecology. These assessments are crucial for avoiding the loss of key functional groups that sustain ecosystem processes and services. We developed a novel predictive framework of species extinction vulnerability and applied it to coral reef fishes. Although relatively few coral reef fishes are at risk of global extinction from climate disturbances, a negative convex relationship between fish species locally vulnerable to climate change vs. fisheries exploitation indicates that the entire community is vulnerable on the many reefs where both stressors co-occur. Fishes involved in maintaining key ecosystem functions are more at risk from fishing than climate disturbances. This finding is encouraging as local and regional commitment to fisheries management action can maintain reef ecosystem functions pending progress towards the more complex global problem of stabilizing the climate. PMID:21320260

  10. Discordant coral-symbiont structuring: factors shaping geographical variation of Symbiodinium communities in a facultative zooxanthellate coral genus, Oculina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leydet, Karine Posbic; Hellberg, Michael E.

    2016-06-01

    Understanding the factors that help shape the association between corals and their algal symbionts, zooxanthellae ( Symbiodinium), is necessary to better understand the functional diversity and acclimatization potential of the coral host. However, most studies focus on tropical zooxanthellate corals and their obligate algal symbionts, thus limiting our full comprehension of coral-algal symbiont associations. Here, we examine algal associations in a facultative zooxanthellate coral. We survey the Symbiodinium communities associated with Oculina corals in the western North Atlantic and the Mediterranean using one clade-level marker ( psbA coding region) and three fine-scale markers ( cp23S- rDNA, b7sym15 flanking region, and b2sym17). We ask whether Oculina spp. harbor geographically different Symbiodinium communities across their geographic range and, if so, whether the host's genetics or habitat differences are correlated with this geographical variation. We found that Oculina corals harbor different Symbiodinium communities across their geographical range. Of the habitat differences (including chlorophyll a concentration and depth), sea surface temperature is better correlated with this geographical variation than the host's genetics, a pattern most evident in the Mediterranean. Our results suggest that although facultative zooxanthellate corals may be less dependent on their algal partners compared to obligate zooxanthellate corals, the Symbiodinium communities that they harbor may nevertheless reflect acclimatization to environmental variation among habitats.

  11. The influence of colony size and coral health on the occupation of coral-associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-03-01

    Fishes of the genus Gobiodon are habitat specialists by their association with Acropora corals. Little is known about the parameters that define host coral quality for these fishes, in particular their breeding pairs. Data were collected in the northern Red Sea using 10 × 1-m belt transects in different reefs and zones. Gobiid density was highly correlated with coral density over all sites and zones, and the more specialized goby species preferred coral species that are less vulnerable to environmental stress. Moreover, the occupation rate of corals by goby breeding pairs significantly increased with colony size and decreased with partial mortality of colonies. Logistic regression showed that both coral size (being most important) and partial mortality are key factors influencing the occupation by breeding pairs. This study provides the first evidence that breeding pairs of coral-associated gobiids have more advanced habitat requirements than con-specifics in other social states. As coral reefs are threatened worldwide and habitat loss and degradation increase, this information will help predict the potential effects on those reef fishes obligatorily associated with live corals.

  12. Fine structure analysis of black band disease (BBD) infected coral and coral exposed to the BBD toxins microcystin and sulfide.

    PubMed

    Miller, Aaron W; Richardson, Laurie L

    2012-01-01

    Black band disease (BBD) of corals is a complex pathogenic polymicrobial mat community that lyses coral tissue as it migrates over an infected colony. Two known toxins are produced by BBD microorganisms - sulfide, produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria, and microcystin, produced by cyanobacteria. Experiments were carried out to determine the effects of exposing healthy coral fragments to variable concentrations of purified microcystin, sulfide at a concentration known to exist in BBD, and a combination of the two. Healthy fragments of the coral Montastraea annularis were placed into experimental chambers with known toxin/s for 18-22.5 h. Fine structural analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that toxin exposure resulted in thinning or removal of the coral epidermal layer coupled with degradation of the gastrodermis. These effects were exacerbated when both toxins were used in combination. Exposure to sulfide and the highest concentration of microcystin caused zooxanthellae to dissociate from the coral tissue and to form clusters on the coral surface. Examination of coral fragments infected with BBD was carried out for comparison. It was determined that the effects of exposure to sulfide and microcystin on coral fine structure were consistent, both quantitatively and qualitatively, with the effects of artificially induced and naturally occurring BBD on M. annularis. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  14. Effects of acidified seawater on coral calcification and symbiotic algae on the massive coral Porites australiensis.

    PubMed

    Iguchi, Akira; Ozaki, Saori; Nakamura, Takashi; Inoue, Mayuri; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2012-02-01

    We investigated the effect of acidified seawater on calcification and symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll content per single algal cell, fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm)) on a massive coral, Porites australiensis, a common species in the Ryukyu Archipelago of Japan. We found that acidified seawater significantly decreased the calcification and fluorescence yield, but did not affect zooxanthellae density and chlorophyll content per single algal cell. This indicates low levels of photoacclimation to acidified seawater in this species, and this is contrary to the findings of previous studies of Acropora species. A significant correlation between calcification and fluorescence yield was observed, indicating the presence of a strong relationship between calcification and algal photosynthesis. Our results indicate that endosymbiont photosynthetic dysfunction may enhance the decrease of coral calcification in future acidified ocean conditions. Calcification and fluorescence yield among colonies clearly differed, showing that the response to acidified seawater is highly variable among colonies in natural coral populations. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Coral reef metabolism and carbon chemistry dynamics of a coral reef flat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albright, Rebecca; Benthuysen, Jessica; Cantin, Neal; Caldeira, Ken; Anthony, Ken

    2015-05-01

    Global carbon emissions continue to acidify the oceans, motivating growing concern for the ability of coral reefs to maintain net positive calcification rates. Efforts to develop robust relationships between coral reef calcification and carbonate parameters such as aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) aim to facilitate meaningful predictions of how reef calcification will change in the face of ocean acidification. Here we investigate natural trends in carbonate chemistry of a coral reef flat over diel cycles and relate these trends to benthic carbon fluxes by quantifying net community calcification and net community production. We find that, despite an apparent dependence of calcification on Ωarag seen in a simple pairwise relationship, if the dependence of net calcification on net photosynthesis is accounted for, knowing Ωarag does not add substantial explanatory value. This suggests that, over short time scales, the control of Ωarag on net calcification is weak relative to factors governing net photosynthesis.

  16. Coral disease and health workshop: Coral Histopathology II, July 12-14, 2005

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Galloway, S.B.; Woodley, Cheryl M.; McLaughlin, S.M.; Work, T.M.; Bochsler, V.S.; Meteyer, Carol U.; Sileo, Louis; Peters, E.C.; Kramarsky-Winters, E.; Morado, J. Frank; Parnell, P.G.; Rotstein, D.S.; Harely, R.A.; Reynolds, T.L.

    2005-01-01

    An exciting highlight of this meeting was provided by Professor Robert Ogilvie (MUSC Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy) when he introduced participants to a new digital technology that is revolutionizing histology and histopathology in the medical field. The Virtual Slide technology creates digital images of histological tissue sections by computer scanning actual slides in high definition and storing the images for retrieval and viewing. Virtual slides now allow any investigator with access to a computer and the web to view, search, annotate and comment on the same tissue sections in real time. Medical and veterinary slide libraries across the country are being converted into virtual slides to enhance biomedical education, research and diagnosis. The coral health and disease researchers at this workshop deem virtual slides as a significant way to increase capabilities in coral histology and a means for pathology consultations on coral disease cases on a global scale. 

  17. From cholera to corals: Viruses as drivers of virulence in a major coral bacterial pathogen

    PubMed Central

    Weynberg, Karen D.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Neave, Matthew J.; Buerger, Patrick; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2015-01-01

    Disease is an increasing threat to reef-building corals. One of the few identified pathogens of coral disease is the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus. In Vibrio cholerae, infection by a bacterial virus (bacteriophage) results in the conversion of non-pathogenic strains to pathogenic strains and this can lead to cholera pandemics. Pathogenicity islands encoded in the V. cholerae genome play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we analyse five whole genome sequences of V. coralliilyticus to examine whether virulence is similarly driven by horizontally acquired elements. We demonstrate that bacteriophage genomes encoding toxin genes with homology to those found in pathogenic V. cholerae are integrated in V. coralliilyticus genomes. Virulence factors located on chromosomal pathogenicity islands also exist in some strains of V. coralliilyticus. The presence of these genetic signatures indicates virulence in V. coralliilyticus is driven by prophages and other horizontally acquired elements. Screening for pathogens of coral disease should target conserved regions in these elements. PMID:26644037

  18. Constraining Paleoearthquake Slip Distributions with Coral Microatolls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindsay, A.; McCloskey, J.; nic Bhloscaidh, M.; Murphy, S.

    2014-12-01

    Key to understanding the threat posed by large megathrust earthquakes is identifying where the potential for these destructive events exists. Studying extended sequences of earthquakes, Slip Deficit and Stress Evolution modelling techniques may hold the key to locating areas of concern. However, as well as using recent instrumentally constrained slip distributions they require the production of high resolution source models for pre-instrumental events. One place we can attempt this longer term modelling is along the Sunda Trench with its record of large megathrust earthquakes dating back centuries. Coral microatolls populating the intertidal areas of the Sumatran Forearc act as long-term geodetic recorders of tectonic activity. Repeated cycles of stress accumulation and release alter relative sea levels around these islands. Growth of corals, controlled by the level of the lowest tide, exploit interseismic rises in sea level. In turn, they experience die-offs when coseismic drops in sea level lead to subaerially exposure. Examination of coral stratigraphy reveals a history of displacements from which information of past earthquakes can be inferred. We have developed a Genetic Algorithm Slip Estimator (GASE) to rapidly produce high resolution slip distributions from coral displacement data. GASE recombines information held in populations of randomly generated slip distributions, to create superior models, satisfying observed displacements. Non-unique solutions require multiple iterations of the algorithm, producing a suite of models from which an ensemble slip distribution is drawn. Systematic testing of the algorithm demonstrates its ability to reliably estimate both known synthetic and instrumentally constrained slip distributions based on surface displacements. We will present high-resolution source models satisfying published displacement data for a number recent and paleoearthquakes along the Sunda trench, including the great 1797 and 1833 events.

  19. Benefit of pulsation in soft corals

    PubMed Central

    Kremien, Maya; Shavit, Uri; Mass, Tali; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-01-01

    Soft corals of the family Xeniidae exhibit a unique, rhythmic pulsation of their tentacles (Movie S1), first noted by Lamarck nearly 200 y ago. However, the adaptive benefit of this perpetual, energetically costly motion is poorly understood. Using in situ underwater particle image velocimetry, we found that the pulsation motions thrust water upward and enhance mixing across the coral–water boundary layer. The induced upward motion effectively prevents refiltration of water by neighboring polyps, while the intensification of mixing, together with the upward flow, greatly enhances the coral’s photosynthesis. A series of controlled laboratory experiments with the common xeniid coral Heteroxenia fuscescens showed that the net photosynthesis rate during pulsation was up to an order of magnitude higher than during the coral’s resting, nonpulsating state. This enhancement diminished when the concentration of oxygen in the ambient water was artificially raised, indicating that the enhancement of photosynthesis was due to a greater efflux of oxygen from the coral tissues. By lowering the internal oxygen concentration, pulsation alleviates the problem of reduced affinity of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (RuBisCO) to CO2 under conditions of high oxygen concentrations. The photosynthesis–respiration ratio of the pulsating H. fuscescens was markedly higher than the ratios reported for nonpulsating soft and stony corals. Although pulsation is commonly used for locomotion and filtration in marine mobile animals, its occurrence in sessile (bottom-attached) species is limited to members of the ancient phylum Cnidaria, where it is used to accelerate water and enhance physiological processes. PMID:23610420

  20. Mean circulation of the Coral Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kessler, William S.; Cravatte, Sophie

    2013-12-01

    The mean absolute geostrophic circulation of the Coral Sea is constructed from climatological hydrographic data referenced to a 1000 m velocity field derived from Argo float drift. Two branches of the South Equatorial Current (SEC) enter the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands: the broad, upper thermocline North Vanuatu Jet (NVJ), and the narrow North Caledonian Jet (NCJ) extending to at least 1500 m. Most of this incoming flow leaves to the Solomon Sea. Four distinct pathways through the Coral Sea are traced by their water properties: (1) The NCJ crosses the Sea to the coast of Australia and turns north at densities sigma 25-27.4 as the main source of the Gulf of Papua (GPC) western boundary current, eventually feeding the New Guinea Coastal Undercurrent; (2) part of the shallow NVJ turns into the Solomon Sea in midbasin, carrying high-salinity water above sigma 25.5; (3) another part of the NVJ continues to Australia, then turns north to join the GPC, extending it to the surface; (4) a shallow finger of NVJ water, traced by low oxygen above sigma 25, turns south along the coast, beginning the East Australian Current (EAC) at 15°S. Total transport from the Coral to the Tasman Sea is small and shallow; instead, most of the EAC is fed from south of New Caledonia, consistent with the Island Rule. However, large transport fractions occur in narrow jets close to coastlines and reefs and are not well sampled, precluding a quantitative estimate of meridional redistribution of the incoming SEC.

  1. Predators alter community organization of coral reef cryptofauna and reduce abundance of coral mutualists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stier, A. C.; Leray, M.

    2014-03-01

    Coral reefs are the most diverse marine systems in the world, yet our understanding of the processes that maintain such extraordinary diversity remains limited and taxonomically biased toward the most conspicuous species. Cryptofauna that live deeply embedded within the interstitial spaces of coral reefs make up the majority of reef diversity, and many of these species provide important protective services to their coral hosts. However, we know very little about the processes governing the diversity and composition of these less conspicuous but functionally important species. Here, we experimentally quantify the role of predation in driving the community organization of small fishes and decapods that live embedded within Pocillopora eydouxi, a structurally complex, reef-building coral found widely across the Indo-Pacific. We use surveys to describe the natural distribution of predators, and then, factorially manipulate two focal predator species to quantify the independent and combined effects of predator density and identity on P. eydouxi-dwelling cryptofauna. Predators reduced abundance (34 %), species richness (20 %), and modified species composition. Rarefaction revealed that observed reductions in species richness were primarily driven by changes in abundance. Additionally, the two predator species uniquely affected the beta diversity and composition of the prey assemblage. Predators reduced the abundance and modified the composition of a number of mutualist fishes and decapods, whose benefit to the coral is known to be both diversity- and density-dependent. We predict that the density and identity of predators present within P. eydouxi may substantially alter coral performance in the face of an increased frequency and intensity of natural and anthropogenic stressors.

  2. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Daniel; Pochon, Xavier; Irwin, Leslie; Toonen, Robert J.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2011-01-01

    The ecological success of shallow-water reef-building corals (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia) is framed by their intimate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). In contrast, the closely related black corals (Hexacorallia: Anthipatharia) are described as azooxanthellate (lacking Symbiodinium), a trait thought to reflect their preference for low-light environments that do not support photosynthesis. We examined 14 antipatharian species collected between 10 and 396 m from Hawai'i and Johnston Atoll for the presence of Symbiodinium using molecular typing and histology. Symbiodinium internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS-2) region sequences were retrieved from 43 per cent of the antipatharian samples and 71 per cent of the examined species, and across the entire depth range. The ITS-2 sequences were identical or very similar to those commonly found in shallow-water scleractinian corals throughout the Pacific. Histological analyses revealed low densities of Symbiodinium cells inside antipatharian gastrodermal tissues (0–92 cells mm−3), suggesting that the Symbiodinium are endosymbiotic. These findings confirm that the capacity to engage in endosymbiosis with Symbiodinium is evolutionarily conserved across the cnidarian subclass Hexacorallia, and that antipatharians associate with Symbiodinium types found in shallow-water scleractinians. This study represents the deepest record for Symbiodinium to date, and suggests that some members of this dinoflagellate genus have extremely diverse habitat preferences and broad environmental ranges. PMID:20961904

  3. coral Software: QSAR for Anticancer Agents.

    PubMed

    Benfenati, Emilio; Toropov, Andrey A; Toropova, Alla P; Manganaro, Alberto; Gonella Diaza, Rodolfo

    2011-06-01

    CORrelations And Logic (coral at http://www.insilico.eu/coral) is freeware aimed at establishing a quantitative structure - property/activity relationships (QSPR/QSAR). Simplified molecular input line entry system (SMILES) is used to represent the molecular structure. In fact, symbols in SMILES nomenclatures are indicators of the presence of defined molecular fragments. By means of the calculation with Monte Carlo optimization of the so called correlation weights (contributions) for the above-mentioned molecular fragments, one can define optimal SMILES-based descriptors, which are correlated with an endpoint for the training set. The predictability of these descriptors for an external validation set can be estimated. A collection of SMILES-based models of anticancer activity of 1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-1-(2-thiazolyl)-1,8-naphthyridines for different splits into training and validation set which are calculated with the coral are examined and discussed. Good performance has been obtained for three splits: the r(2) ranged between 0.778 and 0.829 for the sub-training set, between 0.828 and 0.933 for the calibration set, and between 0.807 and 0.931 for the validation set. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  4. Suspended sediments limit coral sperm availability.

    PubMed

    Ricardo, Gerard F; Jones, Ross J; Clode, Peta L; Humanes, Adriana; Negri, Andrew P

    2015-12-14

    Suspended sediment from dredging activities and natural resuspension events represent a risk to the reproductive processes of coral, and therefore the ongoing maintenance of reefal populations. To investigate the underlying mechanisms that could reduce the fertilisation success in turbid water, we conducted several experiments exposing gametes of the corals Acropora tenuis and A. millepora to two sediment types. Sperm limitation was identified in the presence of siliciclastic sediment (230 and ~700 mg L(-1)), with 2-37 fold more sperm required to achieve maximum fertilisation rates, when compared with sediment-free treatments. This effect was more pronounced at sub-optimum sperm concentrations. Considerable (>45%) decreases in sperm concentration at the water's surface was recorded in the presence of siliciclastic sediment and a >20% decrease for carbonate sediment. Electron microscopy then confirmed sediment entangled sperm and we propose entrapment and sinking is the primary mechanism reducing sperm available to the egg. Longer exposure to suspended sediments and gamete aging further decreased fertilisation success when compared with a shorter exposure. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that high concentrations of suspended sediments effectively remove sperm from the water's surface during coral spawning events, reducing the window for fertilisation with potential subsequent flow-on effects for recruitment.

  5. Vertical variations of coral reef drag forces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  6. Natural bounds on herbivorous coral reef fishes

    PubMed Central

    Hoey, Andrew S.; Williams, Gareth J.; Williams, Ivor D.

    2016-01-01

    Humans are an increasingly dominant driver of Earth's biological communities, but differentiating human impacts from natural drivers of ecosystem state is crucial. Herbivorous fish play a key role in maintaining coral dominance on coral reefs, and are widely affected by human activities, principally fishing. We assess the relative importance of human and biophysical (habitat and oceanographic) drivers on the biomass of five herbivorous functional groups among 33 islands in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Human impacts were clear for some, but not all, herbivore groups. Biomass of browsers, large excavators, and of all herbivores combined declined rapidly with increasing human population density, whereas grazers, scrapers, and detritivores displayed no relationship. Sea-surface temperature had significant but opposing effects on the biomass of detritivores (positive) and browsers (negative). Similarly, the biomass of scrapers, grazers, and detritivores correlated with habitat structural complexity; however, relationships were group specific. Finally, the biomass of browsers and large excavators was related to island geomorphology, both peaking on low-lying islands and atolls. The substantial variability in herbivore populations explained by natural biophysical drivers highlights the need for locally appropriate management targets on coral reefs. PMID:27881745

  7. Modeling vertical coral connectivity and mesophotic refugia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  8. Suspended sediments limit coral sperm availability

    PubMed Central

    Ricardo, Gerard F.; Jones, Ross J.; Clode, Peta L.; Humanes, Adriana; Negri, Andrew P.

    2015-01-01

    Suspended sediment from dredging activities and natural resuspension events represent a risk to the reproductive processes of coral, and therefore the ongoing maintenance of reefal populations. To investigate the underlying mechanisms that could reduce the fertilisation success in turbid water, we conducted several experiments exposing gametes of the corals Acropora tenuis and A. millepora to two sediment types. Sperm limitation was identified in the presence of siliciclastic sediment (230 and ~700 mg L−1), with 2–37 fold more sperm required to achieve maximum fertilisation rates, when compared with sediment-free treatments. This effect was more pronounced at sub-optimum sperm concentrations. Considerable (>45%) decreases in sperm concentration at the water’s surface was recorded in the presence of siliciclastic sediment and a >20% decrease for carbonate sediment. Electron microscopy then confirmed sediment entangled sperm and we propose entrapment and sinking is the primary mechanism reducing sperm available to the egg. Longer exposure to suspended sediments and gamete aging further decreased fertilisation success when compared with a shorter exposure. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that high concentrations of suspended sediments effectively remove sperm from the water’s surface during coral spawning events, reducing the window for fertilisation with potential subsequent flow-on effects for recruitment. PMID:26659008

  9. Colour thresholds in a coral reef fish.

    PubMed

    Champ, C M; Vorobyev, M; Marshall, N J

    2016-09-01

    Coral reef fishes are among the most colourful animals in the world. Given the diversity of lifestyles and habitats on the reef, it is probable that in many instances coloration is a compromise between crypsis and communication. However, human observation of this coloration is biased by our primate visual system. Most animals have visual systems that are 'tuned' differently to humans; optimized for different parts of the visible spectrum. To understand reef fish colours, we need to reconstruct the appearance of colourful patterns and backgrounds as they are seen through the eyes of fish. Here, the coral reef associated triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus, was tested behaviourally to determine the limits of its colour vision. This is the first demonstration of behavioural colour discrimination thresholds in a coral reef species and is a critical step in our understanding of communication and speciation in this vibrant colourful habitat. Fish were trained to discriminate between a reward colour stimulus and series of non-reward colour stimuli and the discrimination thresholds were found to correspond well with predictions based on the receptor noise limited visual model and anatomy of the eye. Colour discrimination abilities of both reef fish and a variety of animals can therefore now be predicted using the parameters described here.

  10. Can coral reefs be monitored from space?

    PubMed

    Philipson, Petra; Lindell, Tommy

    2003-12-01

    The dramatic bleaching events on the coral reefs recently have enhanced the need for environmental monitoring. Remote sensing is an important constituent for monitoring of reefs, and an invaluable complement to field observations. This paper discusses the possibilities and limitations of present high resolution satellites for mapping and monitoring coral reefs. The sensors with the best spatial and radiometric resolution available today, e.g. IKONOS, can be useful for mapping and monitoring of reefs, but they are too costly for global surveys. However, our coral bleaching studies indicate that massive bleaching could be detected even from satellites with lower resolution, like Landsat, SPOT, and IRS. They could also be useful for coarser, from a spatial and thematic point of view, global mapping and updating purposes. A more detailed monitoring requires both better spatial resolution and spectral resolution than today's sensors. In the future, it is necessary to construct a more reef specific sensor with a few specially selected narrow bands and a good spatial, radiometric and temporal resolution.

  11. Natural bounds on herbivorous coral reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Heenan, Adel; Hoey, Andrew S; Williams, Gareth J; Williams, Ivor D

    2016-11-30

    Humans are an increasingly dominant driver of Earth's biological communities, but differentiating human impacts from natural drivers of ecosystem state is crucial. Herbivorous fish play a key role in maintaining coral dominance on coral reefs, and are widely affected by human activities, principally fishing. We assess the relative importance of human and biophysical (habitat and oceanographic) drivers on the biomass of five herbivorous functional groups among 33 islands in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Human impacts were clear for some, but not all, herbivore groups. Biomass of browsers, large excavators, and of all herbivores combined declined rapidly with increasing human population density, whereas grazers, scrapers, and detritivores displayed no relationship. Sea-surface temperature had significant but opposing effects on the biomass of detritivores (positive) and browsers (negative). Similarly, the biomass of scrapers, grazers, and detritivores correlated with habitat structural complexity; however, relationships were group specific. Finally, the biomass of browsers and large excavators was related to island geomorphology, both peaking on low-lying islands and atolls. The substantial variability in herbivore populations explained by natural biophysical drivers highlights the need for locally appropriate management targets on coral reefs.

  12. Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Daniel; Pochon, Xavier; Irwin, Leslie; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2011-05-07

    The ecological success of shallow-water reef-building corals (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia) is framed by their intimate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). In contrast, the closely related black corals (Hexacorallia: Anthipatharia) are described as azooxanthellate (lacking Symbiodinium), a trait thought to reflect their preference for low-light environments that do not support photosynthesis. We examined 14 antipatharian species collected between 10 and 396 m from Hawai'i and Johnston Atoll for the presence of Symbiodinium using molecular typing and histology. Symbiodinium internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS-2) region sequences were retrieved from 43 per cent of the antipatharian samples and 71 per cent of the examined species, and across the entire depth range. The ITS-2 sequences were identical or very similar to those commonly found in shallow-water scleractinian corals throughout the Pacific. Histological analyses revealed low densities of Symbiodinium cells inside antipatharian gastrodermal tissues (0-92 cells mm(-3)), suggesting that the Symbiodinium are endosymbiotic. These findings confirm that the capacity to engage in endosymbiosis with Symbiodinium is evolutionarily conserved across the cnidarian subclass Hexacorallia, and that antipatharians associate with Symbiodinium types found in shallow-water scleractinians. This study represents the deepest record for Symbiodinium to date, and suggests that some members of this dinoflagellate genus have extremely diverse habitat preferences and broad environmental ranges.

  13. Building coral reef resilience through assisted evolution

    PubMed Central

    van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Oliver, James K.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Gates, Ruth D.

    2015-01-01

    The genetic enhancement of wild animals and plants for characteristics that benefit human populations has been practiced for thousands of years, resulting in impressive improvements in commercially valuable species. Despite these benefits, genetic manipulations are rarely considered for noncommercial purposes, such as conservation and restoration initiatives. Over the last century, humans have driven global climate change through industrialization and the release of increasing amounts of CO2, resulting in shifts in ocean temperature, ocean chemistry, and sea level, as well as increasing frequency of storms, all of which can profoundly impact marine ecosystems. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems that have suffered massive declines in health and abundance as a result of these and other direct anthropogenic disturbances. There is great concern that the high rates, magnitudes, and complexity of environmental change are overwhelming the intrinsic capacity of corals to adapt and survive. Although it is important to address the root causes of changing climate, it is also prudent to explore the potential to augment the capacity of reef organisms to tolerate stress and to facilitate recovery after disturbances. Here, we review the risks and benefits of the improvement of natural and commercial stocks in noncoral reef systems and advocate a series of experiments to determine the feasibility of developing coral stocks with enhanced stress tolerance through the acceleration of naturally occurring processes, an approach known as (human)-assisted evolution, while at the same time initiating a public dialogue on the risks and benefits of this approach. PMID:25646461

  14. Threatened Reef Corals of the World

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Danwei

    2012-01-01

    A substantial proportion of the world's living species, including one-third of the reef-building corals, are threatened with extinction and in pressing need of conservation action. In order to reduce biodiversity loss, it is important to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity along with their risk of extinction for the purpose of setting conservation priorities. Here I reconstruct the most comprehensive tree of life for the order Scleractinia (1,293 species) that includes all 837 living reef species, and employ a composite measure of phylogenetic distinctiveness and extinction risk to identify the most endangered lineages that would not be given top priority on the basis of risk alone. The preservation of these lineages, not just the threatened species, is vital for safeguarding evolutionary diversity. Tests for phylogeny-associated patterns show that corals facing elevated extinction risk are not clustered on the tree, but species that are susceptible, resistant or resilient to impacts such as bleaching and disease tend to be close relatives. Intensification of these threats or extirpation of the endangered lineages could therefore result in disproportionate pruning of the coral tree of life. PMID:22479633

  15. Climate change and coral reef connectivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munday, P. L.; Leis, J. M.; Lough, J. M.; Paris, C. B.; Kingsford, M. J.; Berumen, M. L.; Lambrechts, J.

    2009-06-01

    This review assesses and predicts the impacts that rapid climate change will have on population connectivity in coral reef ecosystems, using fishes as a model group. Increased ocean temperatures are expected to accelerate larval development, potentially leading to reduced pelagic durations and earlier reef-seeking behaviour. Depending on the spatial arrangement of reefs, the expectation would be a reduction in dispersal distances and the spatial scale of connectivity. Small increase in temperature might enhance the number of larvae surviving the pelagic phase, but larger increases are likely to reduce reproductive output and increase larval mortality. Changes to ocean currents could alter the dynamics of larval supply and changes to planktonic productivity could affect how many larvae survive the pelagic stage and their condition at settlement; however, these patterns are likely to vary greatly from place-to-place and projections of how oceanographic features will change in the future lack sufficient certainty and resolution to make robust predictions. Connectivity could also be compromised by the increased fragmentation of reef habitat due to the effects of coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Changes to the spatial and temporal scales of connectivity have implications for the management of coral reef ecosystems, especially the design and placement of marine-protected areas. The size and spacing of protected areas may need to be strategically adjusted if reserve networks are to retain their efficacy in the future.

  16. Building coral reef resilience through assisted evolution.

    PubMed

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Oliver, James K; Putnam, Hollie M; Gates, Ruth D

    2015-02-24

    The genetic enhancement of wild animals and plants for characteristics that benefit human populations has been practiced for thousands of years, resulting in impressive improvements in commercially valuable species. Despite these benefits, genetic manipulations are rarely considered for noncommercial purposes, such as conservation and restoration initiatives. Over the last century, humans have driven global climate change through industrialization and the release of increasing amounts of CO2, resulting in shifts in ocean temperature, ocean chemistry, and sea level, as well as increasing frequency of storms, all of which can profoundly impact marine ecosystems. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems that have suffered massive declines in health and abundance as a result of these and other direct anthropogenic disturbances. There is great concern that the high rates, magnitudes, and complexity of environmental change are overwhelming the intrinsic capacity of corals to adapt and survive. Although it is important to address the root causes of changing climate, it is also prudent to explore the potential to augment the capacity of reef organisms to tolerate stress and to facilitate recovery after disturbances. Here, we review the risks and benefits of the improvement of natural and commercial stocks in noncoral reef systems and advocate a series of experiments to determine the feasibility of developing coral stocks with enhanced stress tolerance through the acceleration of naturally occurring processes, an approach known as (human)-assisted evolution, while at the same time initiating a public dialogue on the risks and benefits of this approach.

  17. Colour thresholds in a coral reef fish

    PubMed Central

    Vorobyev, M.; Marshall, N. J.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reef fishes are among the most colourful animals in the world. Given the diversity of lifestyles and habitats on the reef, it is probable that in many instances coloration is a compromise between crypsis and communication. However, human observation of this coloration is biased by our primate visual system. Most animals have visual systems that are ‘tuned’ differently to humans; optimized for different parts of the visible spectrum. To understand reef fish colours, we need to reconstruct the appearance of colourful patterns and backgrounds as they are seen through the eyes of fish. Here, the coral reef associated triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus, was tested behaviourally to determine the limits of its colour vision. This is the first demonstration of behavioural colour discrimination thresholds in a coral reef species and is a critical step in our understanding of communication and speciation in this vibrant colourful habitat. Fish were trained to discriminate between a reward colour stimulus and series of non-reward colour stimuli and the discrimination thresholds were found to correspond well with predictions based on the receptor noise limited visual model and anatomy of the eye. Colour discrimination abilities of both reef fish and a variety of animals can therefore now be predicted using the parameters described here. PMID:27703704

  18. Marine Reserves Enhance the Recovery of Corals on Caribbean Reefs

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified. PMID:20066158

  19. Bacterial assemblages differ between compartments within the coral holobiont

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-03-01

    It is widely accepted that corals are associated with a diverse and host species-specific microbiota, but how they are organized within their hosts remains poorly understood. Previous sampling techniques (blasted coral tissues, coral swabs and milked mucus) may preferentially sample from different compartments such as mucus, tissue and skeleton, or amalgamate them, making comparisons and generalizations between studies difficult. This study characterized bacterial communities of corals with minimal mechanical disruption and contamination from water, air and sediments from three compartments: surface mucus layer (SML), coral tissue and coral skeleton. A novel apparatus (the `snot sucker') was used to separate the SML from tissues and skeleton, and these three compartments were compared to swab samples and milked mucus along with adjacent environmental samples (water column and sediments). Bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity was significantly different between the various coral compartments and environmental samples (PERMANOVA, F = 6.9, df = 8, P = 0.001), the only exceptions being the complete crushed coral samples and the coral skeleton, which were similar, because the skeleton represents a proportionally large volume and supports a relatively rich microflora. Milked mucus differed significantly from the SML collected with the `snot sucker' and was contaminated with zooxanthellae, suggesting that it may originate at least partially from the gastrovascular cavity rather than the tissue surface. A common method of sampling the SML, surface swabs, produced a bacterial community profile distinct from the SML sampled using our novel apparatus and also showed contamination from coral tissues. Our results indicate that microbial communities are spatially structured within the coral holobiont, and methods used to describe these need to be standardized to allow comparisons between studies.

  20. The Coral Triangle Atlas: An Integrated Online Spatial Database System for Improving Coral Reef Management

    PubMed Central

    Cros, Annick; Ahamad Fatan, Nurulhuda; White, Alan; Teoh, Shwu Jiau; Tan, Stanley; Handayani, Christian; Huang, Charles; Peterson, Nate; Venegas Li, Ruben; Siry, Hendra Yusran; Fitriana, Ria; Gove, Jamison; Acoba, Tomoko; Knight, Maurice; Acosta, Renerio; Andrew, Neil; Beare, Doug

    2014-01-01

    In this paper we describe the construction of an online GIS database system, hosted by WorldFish, which stores bio-physical, ecological and socio-economic data for the ‘Coral Triangle Area’ in South-east Asia and the Pacific. The database has been built in partnership with all six (Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) of the Coral Triangle countries, and represents a valuable source of information for natural resource managers at the regional scale. Its utility is demonstrated using biophysical data, data summarising marine habitats, and data describing the extent of marine protected areas in the region. PMID:24941442