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Sample records for gorgonian coral colonies

  1. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Isomura, Naoko; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Microbial consortia of gorgonian corals from the Aleutian islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gray, Michael A.; Stone, R.P.; McLaughlin, M.R.; Kellogg, C.A.

    2011-01-01

    Gorgonians make up the majority of corals in the Aleutian archipelago and provide critical fish habitat in areas of economically important fisheries. The microbial ecology of the deep-sea gorgonian corals Paragorgea arborea, Plumarella superba, and Cryogorgia koolsae was examined with culture-based and 16S rRNA gene-based techniques. Six coral colonies (two per species) were collected. Samples from all corals were cultured, and clone libraries were constructed from P. superba and C. koolsae. Cultured bacteria were dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria, especially Vibrionaceae, with other phyla comprising <6% of the isolates. The clone libraries showed dramatically different bacterial communities between corals of the same species collected at different sites, with no clear pattern of conserved bacterial consortia. Two of the clone libraries (one from each coral species) were dominated by Tenericutes, with Alphaproteobacteria dominating the remaining sequences. The other libraries were more diverse and had a more even distribution of bacterial phyla, showing more similarity between genera than within coral species. Here we report the first microbiological characterization of P. arborea, P. superba, and C. koolsae. FEMS Microbiology Ecology ?? 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. No claim to original US government works.

  4. Predator release of the gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum increases predation on gorgonian corals.

    PubMed

    Burkepile, Deron E; Hay, Mark E

    2007-11-01

    When large, predatory fishes and invertebrates were excluded from areas of a coral reef in the Florida Keys, USA, densities of the normally rare gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum, a principal predator of gorgonian corals, increased 19-fold. Gorgonians in predator exclosures were grazed more frequently and extensively by C. gibbosum than were gorgonians in uncaged areas. In exclosures, 14% of all gorgonians showed recent predation by C. gibbosum, with 62% of the entire colony surface being removed from these attacked individuals. In areas where predators of C. gibbosum were not excluded, only 5% of gorgonians exhibited recent damage, with only 26% of the colony surface being removed from these few damaged individuals. Thus, the increases in both frequency and extent of attack combined to produce an 8x increase in gorgonian damage following removal of large predators. These patterns suggest that predators typically suppress C. gibbosum populations, that overfishing of these predators could release C. gibbosum from top-down control, and that this release will allow increased damage to gorgonian corals.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  7. A new sesquiterpene from the gorgonian coral Menella sp.

    PubMed

    Peng, Qi; Liu, Fen; Sun, Huan; Liao, Xiao-Jian; Feng, Mei-Ran; Liu, Ting-Ting; Xu, Zheng-Xiong; Zhang, Jun; Xu, Shi-Hai

    2016-10-01

    A new sesquiterpene named menecubebane B (1) and a known analogue (2) were isolated from the gorgonian coral Menella sp. Their structures were elucidated by the extensive analyses of spectroscopic data and by the comparison with related literature. Cytotoxic effect against both Eca9706 and HeLa cell lines was evaluated, revealing 1 exhibited moderate cytotoxicity against the two cell lines involved with IC50 values being 20.8 and 30.6 μM, respectively.

  8. Natural product chemistry of gorgonian corals of genus Junceella--part II.

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1999-01-01

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

  10. Isolation of potential fungal pathogens in gorgonian corals at the Tropical Eastern Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrero-Canosa, J.; Dueñas, L. F.; Sánchez, J. A.

    2013-03-01

    A major environmental problem in the ocean is the alarming increase in diseases affecting diverse marine organisms including corals. Environmental factors such as the rising seawater temperatures and terrestrial microbial input to the ocean have contributed to the increase in diseased organisms. We isolated and identified the fungal agents that may be leading to a disease in the Pacific sea fan Pacifigorgia eximia (Gorgoniidae, Octocorallia) in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. We isolated thirteen fungal genera in healthy and diseased colonies including Aspergillus sydowii. Aspergillus has been previously identified as responsible for the mortality of gorgonian corals in the Caribbean. This disease was observed in the Eastern Pacific affecting a completely different set of species nearly 30 years after the Caribbean outbreak, which concur with rising seawater temperatures and thermal anomalies that have been observed in the last 4 years.

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

    PubMed

    Lacharité, Myriam; Metaxas, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lacharité, Myriam; Metaxas, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Lacharité, Myriam; Metaxas, Anna

    2013-01-01

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

  14. [Chemical constituents from the south China sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia reticulata].

    PubMed

    Yang, Jin; Qi, Shu-hua; Zhang, Si; Li, Qing-xin

    2006-06-01

    Nine compounds, cholesterol (1), ergostra-7,22-diene-3beta, 5alpha, 6beta-triol (2), cholesta-7,22-diene-3beta, 5alpha, 6beta-triol (3),5,8-epidioxycampesta-6,22-dien-3-o1 (4), batyl alcohol (5), theine (6), thymine (7), uracil (8), guanine (9), were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia reticulata and their structures elucidated on the basis of spectral data. All of these compounds were isolated for the first time from this gorgonian coral.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2005-02-03

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

  16. Bebrycoside, a new steroidal glycoside from the Chinese gorgonian coral Bebryce indica.

    PubMed

    Yang, Jin; Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Xiao, Zhi-Hui; Li, Qing-Xin

    2007-02-01

    A new steroidal glycoside, bebrycoside (1), was isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Bebryce indica. The structure of 1 was established by extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data. This was the first time that the steroidal glycoside was isolated from the genus of Bebryce.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, C. E.; Paul, V. J.; Ritson-Williams, R.; Muehllehner, N.; Langdon, C.; Sánchez, J. A.

    2015-06-01

    Ocean acidification can have negative repercussions from the organism to ecosystem levels. Octocorals deposit high-magnesium calcite in their skeletons, and according to different models, they could be more susceptible to the depletion of carbonate ions than either calcite or aragonite-depositing organisms. This study investigated the response of the gorgonian coral Eunicea fusca to a range of CO2 concentrations from 285 to 4,568 ppm (pH range 8.1-7.1) over a 4-week period. Gorgonian growth and calcification were measured at each level of CO2 as linear extension rate and percent change in buoyant weight and calcein incorporation in individual sclerites, respectively. There was a significant negative relationship for calcification and CO2 concentration that was well explained by a linear model regression analysis for both buoyant weight and calcein staining. In general, growth and calcification did not stop in any of the concentrations of pCO2; however, some of the octocoral fragments experienced negative calcification at undersaturated levels of calcium carbonate (>4,500 ppm) suggesting possible dissolution effects. These results highlight the susceptibility of the gorgonian coral E. fusca to elevated levels of carbon dioxide but suggest that E. fusca could still survive well in mid-term ocean acidification conditions expected by the end of this century, which provides important information on the effects of ocean acidification on the dynamics of coral reef communities. Gorgonian corals can be expected to diversify and thrive in the Atlantic-Eastern Pacific; as scleractinian corals decline, it is likely to expect a shift in these reef communities from scleractinian coral dominated to octocoral/soft coral dominated under a "business as usual" scenario of CO2 emissions.

  18. A new sesquiterpene from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Xu, Mu-Wu; Hao, Yuan-Tao

    2016-11-01

    A new sesquiterpene, namely suberosoid (1), was isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa. The chemical structure of 1 was established as an unusual sesquiterpene containing 4-methylenecyclohex-2-enone system, by extensive analyses of NMR spectroscopy and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Suberosoid (1) exhibited cytotoxic effect against HeLa cell lines with IC50 value being 10.6 μM.

  19. Pubinernoid A and Apo-9'-fucoxanthinone, Secondary Metabolites from a Gorgonian Coral Pinnigorgia sp.

    PubMed

    Chang, Hsin-Huan; Chang, Yu-Chia; Chen, Wu-Fu; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wen, Zhi-Hong; Chen, Yu-Hsin; Wu, Yang-Chang; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2016-06-01

    The structures of pubinernoid A (1) and apo-9'-fucoxanthinone (2), isolated from a gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp., were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic analysis and by comparison of their spectroscopic data with those of known compounds. This is the first report of 1 and 2 from an animal source. Apo-9'-fucoxanthinone (2) displayed a significant inhibitory effect on the release of elastase by human neutrophils, with an IC50 value of 5.75 μM. PMID:27534096

  20. A new sesquiterpene from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Xu, Mu-Wu; Hao, Yuan-Tao

    2016-11-01

    A new sesquiterpene, namely suberosoid (1), was isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa. The chemical structure of 1 was established as an unusual sesquiterpene containing 4-methylenecyclohex-2-enone system, by extensive analyses of NMR spectroscopy and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Suberosoid (1) exhibited cytotoxic effect against HeLa cell lines with IC50 value being 10.6 μM. PMID:27244567

  1. Diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from five species of the South China Sea gorgonian corals.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-Yong; He, Fei; Wang, Guang-Hua; Bao, Jie; Xu, Xin-Ya; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2013-06-01

    This study describes the diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from five species of gorgonian corals (Echinogorgia aurantiaca, Melitodes squamata, Muricella flexuosa, Subergorgia suberosa, and Verrucella umbraculum) collected in shallow water of the South China Sea. A total of 123 actinobacterial isolates were recovered using ten different isolation media, and assigned to 11 genera, including Streptomyces and Micromonospora as the dominant genera, followed by Nocardia, Verrucosispora, Nocardiopsis, Rhodococcus, Pseudonocardia, Agrococcus, Saccharomonospora, Saccharopolyspora and Dietzia. Comparable analysis indicated that the numbers of actinobacterial genera and isolates from the five gorgonian coral species varied significantly. It was found that 72 isolates displayed antibacterial activity against at least one indicator bacterium, and the antibacterial strains isolated from different gorgonians had almost the same proportion (~50 %). These results provide direct evidence for the hypotheses that gorgonian coral species contain large and diverse communities of actinobacteria, and suggest that many gorgonian-associated actinobacteria could produce some antibacterial agents to protect their hosts against pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first report about the diversity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from gorgonian corals.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

  3. Antifouling and antibacterial polyketides from marine gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023.

    PubMed

    Bao, Jie; Sun, Yu-Lin; Zhang, Xiao-Yong; Han, Zhuang; Gao, Hai-Chun; He, Fei; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2013-04-01

    Two new polyketides, 6,8,5'6'-tetrahydroxy-3'-methylflavone (1) and paecilin C (2), together with six known analogs secalonic acid D (3), secalonic acid B (4) penicillixanthone A (5), emodin (6), citreorosein (7) and isorhodoptilometrin (8) were obtained from a broth of gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023. Compounds 1 and 6-8 had significant antifouling activity against Balanus amphitrite larvae settlement with EC50 values of 6.7, 6.1, 17.9 and 13.7 μg ml(-1), respectively, and 3-5 showed medium antibacterial activity against four tested bacterial strains. This was the first report of antibacterial activity of 3-5 against marine bacteria and antifouling activity of 6-8 against marine biofouling organism's larvae. The results indicated that gorgonian coral-associated fungus Penicillium sp. SCSGAF 0023 strain could produce antifouling and antibacterial compounds that might aid the host gorgonian coral in protection against marine pathogen bacteria, biofouling organisms and other intruders.

  4. A new diketopiperazine from the gorgonian coral Menella kanisa.

    PubMed

    Gao, Chenghai; Lin, Lin; Long, Bin; Chen, Yinning; He, Bijuan; Sun, Haiyan; Huang, Riming

    2014-01-01

    Chemical investigation on the gorgonian Menella kanisa collected from Beibu Gulf led to the isolation of a new diketopiperazine, named menazepine A (1), as well as three known diketopiperazines, namely cyclo(4-hydroxyprolylleucyl) (2), cyclo(Pro-Leu) (3) and cyclo(4-hydroxyprolylphenylalanyl) (4). The structure of the new diketopiperazine was elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis and by comparing the data with those of related metabolites. Compounds 1-4 were also evaluated for brine shrimp lethality.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  6. Antibacterial Δ(1) -3-ketosteroids from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia rubra.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xue-Ping; Cao, Fei; Shao, Chang-Lun; Wang, Mei; Zhang, Xiu-Li; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-07-01

    Three new Δ(1) -3-ketosteroids characterized with a 9-OH, subergosterones A-C (1-3), together with five known analogs 4-8, were obtained from the gorgonian coral Subergorgia rubra collected from the South China Sea. The structures of 1-3, including their absolute configurations, were determined by comprehensive spectroscopic methods and electronic circular dichroism (ECD) experiments. Compounds 2 and 3 exhibited inhibitory antibacterial activities against Bacillus cereus with MIC values of 1.56 μM.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  11. Membrane Lipid Phase Transition Behavior of Oocytes from Three Gorgonian Corals in Relation to Chilling Injury

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Chiahsin; Kuo, Fu-Wen; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop

    2014-01-01

    The lipid phase transition (LPT) from the fluid liquid crystalline phase to the more rigid gel structure phase that occurs upon exposure to low temperatures can affect physical structure and function of cellular membranes. This study set out to investigate the membrane phase behavior of oocytes of three gorgonian corals; Junceela fragilis, J. juncea and Ellisella robusta,at different developmental stages after exposure to reduced temperatures. Oocytes were chilled to 5°C for 48, 96 or 144 h, and the LPT temperature (LPTT) was determined with Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The J. fragilis oocytes had a higher LPTT (∼23.0–23.7°C) than those of J. juncea and E. robusta oocytes (approximately 18.3–20.3°C). Upon chilling for 96 h at 5°C, the LPTTs of J. juncea and E. robusta oocytes in the early (18.0±1.0 and 18.3±0.6°C, respectively) and late (17.3±0.6 and 17.7±1.2°C, respectively) stages were significantly lower than those of J. fragilis oocytes (20.3±2.1 and 19.3±1.5°C for the early and late stages, respectively). The LPTTs of early stage gorgonian oocytes was significantly lower than those of late stage oocytes. These results suggest that the LPT of three gorgonian oocytes at different developmental stages may have been influenced by the phospholipid composition of their plasma membranes, which could have implications for their low temperature resistance. PMID:24671092

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  13. Antifouling steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jun; Liang, Yan; Wang, Kai-Ling; Liao, Xiao-Jian; Deng, Zhou; Xu, Shi-Hai

    2014-01-01

    Two new unusual cholestane derivatives, pentacyclic steroid 16,22-epoxy-20β,23S-dihydroxycholest-1-ene-3-one (1) and 20β,23S-dihydroxycholest-1-ene-3,22-dione (2), along with two new pregnane derivatives, 15β,17α-dihydroxypregna-4,6-diene-3,20-dione (3) and 11α-hydroxypregna-4-ene-3,6,20-trione (4), were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa. Their structures were established based on the extensive analyses of 2D NMR, IR, and HRMS. Antifouling tests against Balanus amphitrite larvae settlement indicated that 1 and 2 exhibited inhibitory effect with EC50 values of 5.3, and 14.5 μg/mL, respectively.

  14. Isolation of a new butenolide from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jun; Liang, Yan; Liao, Xiao-Jian; Deng, Zhou; Xu, Shi-Hai

    2014-01-01

    Chemical investigation on the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa has led to the isolation of one new butenolide (5R)-5-(1-ethoxypropyl)-5-hydroxy-3,4-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one (1) as a pair of inseparable epimers, along with two known butenolides (S)-5-hydroxy-3,4-dimethyl-5-propylfuran-2(5H)-one (2) and (S)-5-hydroxy-3,4-dimethyl-5-pentylfuran-2(5H)-one (3). Their structures including absolute configurations were determined unambiguously by detailed analyses of spectroscopic data and by comparison with the available literature. Compounds 1-3 exhibited moderate antifouling activities against the settlement of Balanus amphitrite larvae, whereas compound 4, the acetyl derivative of 3, showed no antifouling activity at the concentrations up to 25 μg/mL.

  15. Nocardiopsis coralliicola sp. nov., isolated from the gorgonian coral, Menella praelonga.

    PubMed

    Li, Jie; Yang, Jian; Zhu, Wen-Yong; He, Jie; Tian, Xin-Peng; Xie, Qiong; Zhang, Si; Li, Wen-Jun

    2012-07-01

    An actinobacterial strain, SCSIO 10427(T), was isolated from a gorgonian coral sample collected from Weizhou Island, Guangxi province, China, and its taxonomic position was investigated using a polyphasic approach. The organism was found to have a range of chemical and morphological properties consistent with its classification in the genus Nocardiopsis. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity between strain SCSIO 10427(T) and type strains of other recognized members of the genus Nocardiopsis was lower than 98.4%. Furthermore, phenotypic characteristics revealed that the strain differed from the currently recognized species of the genus Nocardiopsis. Therefore, strain SCSIO 10427(T) represents a novel species of the genus Nocardiopsis, for which the name Nocardiopsis coralliicola sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is SCSIO 10427(T) (=CCTCC AA 2011010(T)=DSM 45611(T)).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  17. Complete 1H and 13C NMR assignments of four new steroidal glycosides from a gorgonian coral Junceella juncea.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shuhua; Zhang, Si; Huang, Jianshe; Xiao, Zhihui; Wu, Jun; Li, Qingxin

    2005-03-01

    Four new cholest-type steroidal glycosides, junceellosides A-D, isolated from the EtOH/CH(2)Cl(2) extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian coral Junceella juncea, were identified. Complete assignments of the (1)H and (13)C NMR chemical shifts for these compounds were achieved by means of one- and two-dimensional NMR techniques, including (1)H-(1)H COSY, HSQC, HMBC and NOESY spectra.

  18. 9,11-Secosteroids with cytotoxic activity from the South China Sea gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Stat, Michael; Bird, Christopher E; Pochon, Xavier; Chasqui, Luis; Chauka, Leonard J; Concepcion, Gregory T; Logan, Dan; Takabayashi, Misaki; Toonen, Robert J; Gates, Ruth D

    2011-01-01

    Endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium are fundamentally important to the biology of scleractinian corals, as well as to a variety of other marine organisms. The genus Symbiodinium is genetically and functionally diverse and the taxonomic nature of the union between Symbiodinium and corals is implicated as a key trait determining the environmental tolerance of the symbiosis. Surprisingly, the question of how Symbiodinium diversity partitions within a species across spatial scales of meters to kilometers has received little attention, but is important to understanding the intrinsic biological scope of a given coral population and adaptations to the local environment. Here we address this gap by describing the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages recovered from colonies of the reef building coral Montipora capitata sampled across Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i. A total of 52 corals were sampled in a nested design of Coral Colony(Site(Region)) reflecting spatial scales of meters to kilometers. A diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequences was recovered with the majority of variance partitioning at the level of the Coral Colony. To confirm this result, the Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence diversity in six M. capitata colonies were analyzed in much greater depth with 35 to 55 clones per colony. The ITS2 sequences and quantitative composition recovered from these colonies varied significantly, indicating that each coral hosted a different assemblage of Symbiodinium. The diversity of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages retrieved from individual colonies of M. capitata here highlights the problems inherent in interpreting multi-copy and intra-genomically variable molecular markers, and serves as a context for discussing the utility and biological relevance of assigning species names based on Symbiodinium ITS2 genotyping. PMID:21246044

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-11-01

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

  3. Briarane diterpenes from the South China Sea gorgonian coral, Junceella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Wei; Li, Jiao; E, Heng-Chao; Liu, Bao-Shu; Tang, Hua; Gerwick, William H; Hua, Hui-Ming; Zhang, Wen

    2014-02-01

    Four new briarane diterpenoids, junceellolides M-P (1-4), were isolated together with seven known analogs (5-11) from the South China Sea gorgonian, Junceella gemmacea. The structures of these compounds were elucidated by detailed spectroscopic analysis and comparison with the reported data. The absolute configuration of compounds 1-3 were determined based on an ECD experiment, while the absolute configuration of compound 4 was genetically determined. All the compounds were isolated for the first time from J. gemmacea. These compounds showed no growth inhibitory activity against A549, MG63 and SMMC-7721 cell lines in an in vitro bioassay.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Computational Analysis of Flow Field Inside Coral Colony

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hossain, Md Monir; Staples, Anne

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Drag reduction by reconfiguration in gorgonians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  16. Study on the mitochondrial activity and membrane potential after exposing later stage oocytes of two gorgonian corals (Junceella juncea and Junceella fragilis) to cryoprotectants.

    PubMed

    Tsai, S; Spikings, E; Huang, I-C; Lin, C

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs provide a valuable habitat for many economically valuable fish and invertebrates. However, they are in serious jeopardy, threatened by increasing over-exploitation, pollution, habitat destruction, disease and global climate change. Here, we examined the effect of cryoprotectant exposure on mitochondrial activity and membrane potential in coral oocytes in order to find suitable cryoprotectants towards their successful cryopreservation. According to the No Observed Effect Concentrations (NOECs), methanol was found to be the least toxic cryoprotectant whilst DMSO was the most toxic cryoprotectant. The results also demonstrated that there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in ATP concentrations between Junceella juncea and Junceella fragilis after exposure to all concentrations of all cryoprotectants for 30 min. Using confocal microscopy, JC-1 (5,50,6,60-tetrachloro-1,10,3,30-tetraethyl-imidacarbocyanine iodide) staining indicated that the mitochondrial membrane potential of Junceella fragilis oocytes reduced after 1 M and 2 M methanol treatment and a loss of the mitochondrial distribution pattern and poor green fluorescence after 3M methanol treatment. Therefore, even oocytes that show no adverse effect of cryoprotectants on survival might suffer some more subtle impacts. The results obtained from this study will provide a basis for development of protocols to cryopreserve the oocytes of gorgonian corals.

  17. Transient Shifts in Bacterial Communities Associated with the Temperate Gorgonian Paramuricea clavata in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Background Bacterial communities that are associated with tropical reef-forming corals are being increasingly recognized for their role in host physiology and health. However, little is known about the microbial diversity of the communities associated with temperate gorgonian corals, even though these communities are key structural components of the ecosystem. In the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea, gorgonians undergo recurrent mass mortalities, but the potential relationship between these events and the structure of the associated bacterial communities remains unexplored. Because microbial assemblages may contribute to the overall health and disease resistance of their host, a detailed baseline of the associated bacterial diversity is required to better understand the functioning of the gorgonian holobiont. Methodology/Principal Findings The bacterial diversity associated with the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata was determined using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism and the construction of clone libraries of the bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA. Three study sites were monitored for 4 years to assess the variability of communities associated with healthy colonies. Bacterial assemblages were highly dominated by one Hahellaceae-related ribotype and exhibited low diversity. While this pattern was mostly conserved through space and time, in summer 2007, a deep shift in microbiota structure toward increased bacterial diversity and the transient disappearance of Hahellaceae was observed. Conclusion/Significance This is the first spatiotemporal study to investigate the bacterial diversity associated with a temperate shallow gorgonian. Our data revealed an established relationship between P. clavata and a specific bacterial group within the Oceanospirillales. These results suggest a potential symbiotic role of Hahellaceae in the host-microbe association, as recently suggested for tropical corals. However, a transient

  18. Phylogenetic reconstruction using secondary structures of Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2, rDNA): finding the molecular and morphological gap in Caribbean gorgonian corals

    PubMed Central

    Grajales, Alejandro; Aguilar, Catalina; Sánchez, Juan A

    2007-01-01

    Background Most phylogenetic studies using current methods have focused on primary DNA sequence information. However, RNA secondary structures are particularly useful in systematics because they include characteristics, not found in the primary sequence, that give "morphological" information. Despite the number of recent molecular studies on octocorals, there is no consensus opinion about a region that carries enough phylogenetic resolution to solve intrageneric or close species relationships. Moreover, intrageneric morphological information by itself does not always produce accurate phylogenies; intra-species comparisons can reveal greater differences than intra-generic ones. The search for new phylogenetic approaches, such as by RNA secondary structure analysis, is therefore a priority in octocoral research. Results Initially, twelve predicted RNA secondary structures were reconstructed to provide the basic information for phylogenetic analyses; they accorded with the 6 helicoidal ring model, also present in other groups of corals and eukaryotes. We obtained three similar topologies for nine species of the Caribbean gorgonian genus Eunicea (candelabrum corals) with two sister taxa as outgroups (genera Plexaura and Pseudoplexaura) on the basis of molecular morphometrics of ITS2 RNA secondary structures only, traditional primary sequence analyses and maximum likelihood, and a Bayesian analysis of the combined data. The latter approach allowed us to include both primary sequence and RNA molecular morphometrics; each data partition was allowed to have a different evolution rate. In addition, each helix was partitioned as if it had evolved at a distinct rate. Plexaura flexuosa was found to group within Eunicea; this was best supported by both the molecular morphometrics and combined analyses. We suggest Eunicea flexuosa (Lamouroux, 1821) comb. nov., and we present a new species description including Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images of morphological

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuta, H.; Hidaka, M.

    2013-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  6. Effects of Coral Colony Properties on the Dissipation of Wave Energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Staples, Anne; Azadani, Leila

    2014-11-01

    About 40% of the world's population lives in coastal areas, therefore coastal protection is of particular importance given the increasing frequency of superstorms like Katrina and Sandy, and associated storm surges and flooding. Coral reefs are recognized to provide coastal regions with excellent protection against high-energy wave impacts. The hydrodynamic roughness of coral reefs caused by the presence of several multiscale coral colonies plays a crucial role in the dissipation of wave energy. Here, we design a series of experiments to study the effects of the properties of corals on wave attenuation. As a first step, prototypes of two species (elkhorn and staghorn) of natural branching corals are produced using 3D printing technologies. Wave tank experiments are then performed on the 3D printed samples and the natural corals. The effects of parameters such as coral geometry and coral stiffness on wave dissipation are investigated. In order to study the effect of the geometry of the corals, experiments are performed for both species of corals. The effect of coral stiffness is investigated by using different additive manufacturing materials, which gives different flexibilities to the coral models. Preliminary results from these experiments will be presented.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  8. Disturbance driven colony fragmentation as a driver of a coral disease outbreak.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kavousi, Javid; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Nakamura, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    As anthropogenic climate change is an ongoing concern, scientific investigations on its impacts on coral reefs are increasing. Although impacts of combined ocean acidification (OA) and temperature stress (T) on reef-building scleractinian corals have been studied at the genus, species and population levels, there are little data available on how individual corals respond to combined OA and anomalous temperatures. In this study, we exposed individual colonies of Acropora digitifera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica to four pCO2-temperature treatments including 400 μatm-28 °C, 400 μatm-31 °C, 1000 μatm-28 °C and 1000 μatm-31 °C for 26 days. Physiological parameters including calcification, protein content, maximum photosynthetic efficiency, Symbiodinium density, and chlorophyll content along with Symbiodinium type of each colony were examined. Along with intercolonial responses, responses of individual colonies versus pooled data to the treatments were investigated. The main results were: 1) responses to either OA or T or their combination were different between individual colonies when considering physiological functions; 2) tolerance to either OA or T was not synonymous with tolerance to the other parameter; 3) tolerance to both OA and T did not necessarily lead to tolerance of OA and T combined (OAT) at the same time; 4) OAT had negative, positive or no impacts on physiological functions of coral colonies; and 5) pooled data were not representative of responses of all individual colonies. Indeed, the pooled data obscured actual responses of individual colonies or presented a response that was not observed in any individual. From the results of this study we recommend improving experimental designs of studies investigating physiological responses of corals to climate change by complementing them with colony-specific examinations.

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

    PubMed

    Kavousi, Javid; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Nakamura, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    As anthropogenic climate change is an ongoing concern, scientific investigations on its impacts on coral reefs are increasing. Although impacts of combined ocean acidification (OA) and temperature stress (T) on reef-building scleractinian corals have been studied at the genus, species and population levels, there are little data available on how individual corals respond to combined OA and anomalous temperatures. In this study, we exposed individual colonies of Acropora digitifera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica to four pCO2-temperature treatments including 400 μatm-28 °C, 400 μatm-31 °C, 1000 μatm-28 °C and 1000 μatm-31 °C for 26 days. Physiological parameters including calcification, protein content, maximum photosynthetic efficiency, Symbiodinium density, and chlorophyll content along with Symbiodinium type of each colony were examined. Along with intercolonial responses, responses of individual colonies versus pooled data to the treatments were investigated. The main results were: 1) responses to either OA or T or their combination were different between individual colonies when considering physiological functions; 2) tolerance to either OA or T was not synonymous with tolerance to the other parameter; 3) tolerance to both OA and T did not necessarily lead to tolerance of OA and T combined (OAT) at the same time; 4) OAT had negative, positive or no impacts on physiological functions of coral colonies; and 5) pooled data were not representative of responses of all individual colonies. Indeed, the pooled data obscured actual responses of individual colonies or presented a response that was not observed in any individual. From the results of this study we recommend improving experimental designs of studies investigating physiological responses of corals to climate change by complementing them with colony-specific examinations. PMID:26009841

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-01

    The thermal microenvironment of corals and the thermal effects of changing flow and radiation are critical to understanding heat-induced coral bleaching, a stress response resulting from the destruction of the symbiosis between corals and their photosynthetic microalgae. Temperature microsensor measurements at the surface of illuminated stony corals with uneven surface topography (Leptastrea purpurea and Platygyra sinensis) revealed millimetre-scale variations in surface temperature and thermal boundary layer (TBL) that may help understand the patchy nature of coral bleaching within single colonies. The effect of water flow on the thermal microenvironment was investigated in hemispherical and branching corals (Porites lobata and Stylophora pistillata, respectively) in a flow chamber experiment. For both coral types, the thickness of the TBL decreased exponentially from 2.5 mm at quasi-stagnant flow (0.3 cm s(-1)), to 1 mm at 5 cm s(-1), with an exponent approximately 0.5 consistent with predictions from the heat transfer theory for simple geometrical objects and typical of laminar boundary layer processes. Measurements of mass transfer across the diffusive boundary layer using O(2) microelectrodes revealed a greater exponent for mass transfer when compared with heat transfer, indicating that heat and mass transfer at the surface of corals are not exactly analogous processes.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  4. Agents of coral mortality on reef formations of the Colombian Pacific.

    PubMed

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina

    2010-05-01

    The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) monitors the impact of some of the most important agents of coral tissue loss (bleaching and/or disease) in the Colombian Pacific coral formations since 1998. Physiological bleaching is among the main results of stress in the area. Signs of coral diseases resembling bacterial bleaching such as White Plague and White Band, were observed in Malpelo and Gorgona islands. Damage to the Pacific gorgonian Pacifigorgia spp., similar to those produced by Aspergillosis in Caribbean corals, was detected in Utria Bay. The presence of tumors in colonies of massive corals was also recorded. Even though coral diseases are globally widespread, their occurrence in American Pacific reefs has been poorly documented to date.

  5. Growth-rate influences on coral climate proxies tested by a multiple colony culture experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayashi, Erika; Suzuki, Atsushi; Nakamura, Takashi; Iwase, Akihiro; Ishimura, Toyoho; Iguchi, Akira; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Okai, Takashi; Inoue, Mayuri; Araoka, Daisuke; Murayama, Shohei; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2013-01-01

    As application of coral-based climate reconstruction has become more frequent at tropical sites, increased attention is being paid to the potential ambiguities of coral thermometers that are intrinsic to the biomineralisation process, including the so-called vital effect, the growth-rate-related kinetic effect, and the [CO32-] effect. Here we studied how the growth rate influenced the skeletal oxygen and carbon isotope ratios (δ18O and δ13C) and the Sr/Ca ratio in a common-garden experiment involving the long-term culture of Porites australiensis clone colonies. Comparison of the seasonal minimum δ18O values during summer showed a negligible influence of the large intercolony variation in growth rate (2-10 mm yr-1) on δ18O variation, but δ18O was relatively sensitive to temporary intracolony growth-rate changes related to colony health. In contrast, the Sr/Ca ratio was robust against both inter- and intracolony growth-rate variation. We found a positive shift in δ13C in slower growing corals, which we attributed to the kinetic behaviour of the calcification reaction. The seasonal fluctuation in δ13C corresponded not to changes in light intensity nor to δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater, but to photosynthetic efficiency as measured by pulse-amplitude photometry. These findings support the inference that coral skeletal Sr/Ca and δ18O in a long-lived colony can function as a palaeoclimate archive by recording signals of clonal growth. We also propose practical guidelines for the proper interpretation of coral records.

  6. Antifouling and antibacterial compounds from the gorgonians Subergorgia suberosa and Scripearia gracillis.

    PubMed

    Qi, S H; Zhang, S; Yang, L H; Qian, P Y

    2008-01-20

    In this study, we investigated the potential antilarval and antibacterial activity of secondary metabolites of the gorgonians Subergorgia suberosa and Scripearia gracillis from the South China Sea. Fresh specimens of these two gorgonian corals were collected from a shallow reef in Sanya Bay of Hainan Island and extracted with different solvents. Antilarval activity of the chemical extracts and pure compounds was evaluated in settlement inhibition assays with laboratory-reared Balanus amphitrite and Bugula neritina larvae, while antibacterial activity was assessed with disc diffusion bioassay on growth inhibition of 15 marine bacterial species. Using bioassay-guided procedures, we purified and identified nine compounds. The most potent metabolites produced by these gorgonian corals were subergorgic acid and pregn-4-ene-3, 20-dione extracted from S. suberosa. Our results show that the gorgonian coral S. suberosa and S. gracillis can produce potent anti-fouling compounds that deserve further exploration.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zhi-Cheng

    2015-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lozano-Cortés, Diego F; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Lozano-Cortés, Diego F; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Sebens, K P

    1984-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

  14. Effects of colony size and polyp position on polyp fecundity in the scleractinian coral genus Acropora

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nozawa, Yoko; Lin, Che-Hung

    2014-12-01

    This study examined the effects of colony size and polyp position on six variables of polyp fecundity [egg number, egg size, total egg volume, total testis volume, total gonad volume, and gonad ratio (egg volume/testis volume)] in three tabular Acropora corals (Scleractinia), A. hyacinthus, A. japonica, and A. solitaryensis. Samples were collected from various colony sizes ( n = 21-30 colonies species-1), just before the predicted spawning at Kochi, Japan, in 2009. Five replicate polyps were sampled at three positions (center, middle, and outer) from the center to the marginal area in each tabular colony. Results indicated effects of colony size and polyp position on both male and female gonads polyp-1. A positive effect of colony size was observed on variables of female gonads polyp-1 (egg number, total egg volume) in A. hyacinthus only, while the positive effect on the variable of male gonads polyp-1 (total testis volume) was common in all Acropora species, with total testis volume polyp-1 increasing 2-4-fold from the small (200-400 cm2) to the large size class (5,000-9,000 cm2). Among the polyp positions, lower values were observed mostly in center polyps in A. hyacinthus, while lower values were observed only in outer polyps in the other Acropora species. The distinct patterns between A. hyacinthus and the other two Acropora species suggest different reproductive strategies at the species level. Further studies are needed to confirm the prevalence of these effects in scleractinian corals, which will broaden our understanding of reproductive life history strategies and improve the estimation of reproductive performance.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R

    2009-03-01

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

  17. Health of the coral reefs at the US Navy Base, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba: a preliminary report based on isotopic records from gorgonians.

    PubMed

    Risk, Michael J; Burchell, Meghan; Brunton, Dalston A; McCord, Michael R

    2014-06-15

    Specimens of the gorgonian Plexaura homomalla were sampled from several areas along the fringing reefs fronting the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Sample coverage extended from apparently healthy reefs in oceanic waters to declining reefs located in the plume of the drainage from upper parts of Guantánamo Bay. Tentacle tips were excised, and trunk sections were cut and polished. Stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ(15)N) and carbon indicate a strong correlation of reef health with proximity to the plume of the river. Of all the worldwide cases in which land-based sources of pollution have impacted reefs, this one may well be the most intractable. The US Navy has jurisdiction over the reefs, with the obligation to protect them, yet the threat comes down the river from Cuba.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zhi-Cheng

    2015-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  3. Consequences of fission in the coral Siderastrea siderea: growth rates of small colonies and clonal input to population structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elahi, R.; Edmunds, P. J.

    2007-06-01

    Colony age and size can be poorly related in scleractinian corals if colonies undergo fission to form smaller independent patches of living tissue (i.e., ramets), but the implications of this life-history characteristic are unclear. This study explored the ecological consequences of the potential discrepancy between size and age for a massive scleractinian, first by testing the effect of colony origin on the growth of small colonies, and second by quantifying the contribution of ramets to population structure. Using Siderastrea siderea in St. John (US Virgin Islands) as an experimental system, the analyses demonstrated that the growth of small colonies derived from sexual reproduction was 2.5-fold greater than that of small ramets which were estimated to be ≈100 years older based on the age of the parent colonies from which they split. Although fission can generate discrete colonies, which in the case of the study reef accounted for 42% of all colonies, it may depress colony success and reef accretion through lowered colony growth rates.

  4. 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...

  5. New briaranes from the South China Sea gorgonian Junceella juncea.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Huang, Hui; Xiao, Zhi-Hui; Huang, Jian-She; Li, Qing-Xin

    2004-11-01

    Three new briarane diterpenes, juncins O-Q (1-3), along with five known briaranes, praelolide, junceellin A, gemmacolide A, gemmacolide B, and junceellolide D, were isolated from the EtOH/CH(2)Cl(2) extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian coral Junceella juncea. The structures of 1-3 were established by extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data.

  6. The World's largest known Gorgonian.

    PubMed

    Watling, Les; Rowley, Sonia; Guinotte, John

    2013-01-01

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

  7. The World's largest known Gorgonian.

    PubMed

    Watling, Les; Rowley, Sonia; Guinotte, John

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  12. Phylogenetic analyses among octocorals (Cnidaria): mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences (lsu-rRNA, 16S and ssu-rRNA, 18S) support two convergent clades of branching gorgonians.

    PubMed

    Armando Sánchez, Juan; Lasker, Howard R; Taylor, Derek J

    2003-10-01

    Gorgonian octocorals lack corroborated hypotheses of phylogeny. This study reconstructs genealogical relationships among some octocoral species based on published DNA sequences from the large ribosomal subunit of the mitochondrial RNA (lsu-rRNA, 16S: 524bp and 21 species) and the small subunit of the nuclear RNA (ssu-rRNA, 18S: 1815bp and 13 spp) using information from insertions-deletions (INDELS) and the predicted secondary structure of the lsu-rRNA (16S). There were seven short (3-10bp) INDELS in the 18S with consistent phylogenetic information. The INDELS in the 16S corresponded to informative signature sequences homologous to the G13 helix found in Escherichia coli. We found two main groups of gorgonian octocorals using a maximum parsimony analysis of the two genes. One group corresponds to deep-water taxa including species from the suborders Calcaxonia and Scleraxonia characterized by an enlargement of the G13 helix. The second group has species from Alcyoniina, Holaxonia and again Scleraxonia characterized by insertions in the 18S. Gorgonian corals, branching colonies with a gorgonin-containing flexible multilayered axis (Holaxonia and Calcaxonia), do not form a monophyletic group. These corroborated results from maternally inherited (16S) and biparentally inherited (18S) genes support a hypothesis of independent evolution of branching in the two octocoral clades.

  13. Deep Coral Oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  14. Deep coral oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Deep coral oases in the South Tyrrhenian Sea.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1984-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Herler, Jürgen; Dirnwöber, Markus

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tsai, Sujune; Yang, Vivian; Lin, Chiahsin

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Sujune; Yang, Vivian; Lin, Chiahsin

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. Diversity and chemical defense role of culturable non-actinobacterial bacteria isolated from the South China Sea gorgonians.

    PubMed

    Peng, Jiang; Zhang, Xiaoyong; Xu, Xinya; He, Fei; Qi, Shuhua

    2013-04-01

    The diversity of culturable non-actinobacterial (NA) bacteria associated with four species of South China Sea gorgonians was investigated using culture-dependent methods followed by analysis of the bacterial 16S rDNA sequence. A total of 76 bacterial isolates were recovered and identified, which belonged to 21 species of 7 genera, and Bacillus was the most diverse genus. Fifty-one percent of the 76 isolates displayed antibacterial activities, and most of them belonged to the Bacillus genus. From the culture broth of gorgonian-associated Bacillus methylotrophicus SCSGAB0092 isolated from gorgonian Melitodes squamata, 11 antimicrobial lipopeptides including seven surfactins and four iturins were obtained. These results imply that Bacillus strains associated with gorgonians play roles in coral defense mechanisms through producing antimicrobial substances. This study, for the first time, compares the diversity of culturable NA bacterial communities among four species of South China Sea gorgonians and investigates the secondary metabolites of gorgonian-associated B. methylotrophicus SCSGAB0092.

  10. Species composition and bathymetric distribution of gorgonians (Anthozoa: Octocorallia) on the Southern Mexican Pacific coast.

    PubMed

    Abeytia, Rosalinda; Guzmán, Hector M; Breedy, Odalisca

    2013-09-01

    Gorgonians are important components of coastal ecosystems, as they provide niches, natural compounds with medical applications and are used as bioindicators. Species composition and assemblage structure of gorgonians (Anthozoa: Octocorallia) were studied along a bathymetric profile in the Southern Mexican Pacific coast. Species composition was based on specimens collected within a depth range of 0-70 m in 15 sites. The relative abundance of species was determined in six sites at four depths (5, 10, 20 and 25 m) using three 10 m2 transects at each depth level. Twenty-seven species of gorgonians belonging to six genera and three families were registered. The species composition varied with depth: 11 species were distributed between 0-25m depth, while 17 species were found between 40-70 m depth interval. The shallow zone is characterized by a relatively large abundance of gorgonians, dominated by colonies of Leptogorgia cuspidata and L. ena. In contrast, the deepest zone was characterized by relatively low abundance of gorgonians, dominated by L. alba, the only species observed in both depth intervals. The similarity analysis showed differences in the composition and abundance of species by depth and site, suggesting that the main factor in determining the assemblage structure is depth. Results of this study suggest that the highest richness of gorgonian species in the study area may be located at depths of 40-70 m, whereas the highest abundances are found between 5 and 10 m depth. This study represents a contribution to the poorly known eastern Pacific gorgonian biota.

  11. The occurrence of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia) on oil and gas platforms in the North Sea: colony growth, recruitment and environmental controls on distribution.

    PubMed

    Gass, Susan E; Roberts, J Murray

    2006-05-01

    This study reports a newly established sub-population of Lophelia pertusa, the dominant reef-framework forming coral species in the north-east Atlantic, on oil and gas platforms in the northern North Sea. L. pertusa was positively identified on 13 of 14 platforms examined using existing oil and gas industry visual inspections. Two platforms were inspected in more detail to examine depth and colony size distributions. We recorded 947 colonies occurring between 59 and 132 m depth that coincides with cold Atlantic water at depths below the summer thermocline in the northern North Sea. We suggest that these colonies provide evidence for a planktonic larval stage of L. pertusa with recruits initially originating from populations in the north-east Atlantic and now self recruiting to the platforms. Size class distribution showed a continuous range of size classes, but with few outlying large colonies. The break between the largest colonies and the rest of the population is considered as the point when colonies began self recruiting to the platforms, resulting in greater colonization success. We present the first documented in situ colony growth rate estimate (26 +/- 5 mm yr(-1)) for L. pertusa based on 15 colonies from the Tern Alpha platform with evidence for yearly recruitment events starting the year the platform was installed. Evidence of contamination from drill muds and cuttings was observed on the Heather platform but appeared limited to regions close to drilling discharge points, where colonies experience partial as well as whole colony mortality.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-07

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-21

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beazley, Lindsay I.; Kenchington, Ellen L.

    2012-10-01

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

  18. East African soil erosion recorded in a 300 year old coral colony from Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fleitmann, Dominik; Dunbar, Robert B.; McCulloch, Malcolm; Mudelsee, Manfred; Vuille, Mathias; McClanahan, Tim R.; Cole, Julia E.; Eggins, Stephen

    2007-02-01

    Soil erosion is a key socio-economic and environmental problem in Kenya, which has been poorly documented due to the lack of long, continuous records. Here we present Ba/Ca records from Porites corals from the Malindi coral reef documenting the flux of suspended sediment from the Sabaki River with a sub-weekly resolution for the last 300 years. While sediment flux from the Sabaki River is almost constant between 1700 and 1900, a continuous rise in sediment flux is observed since 1900, first due to British settlements and afterwards due to steadily increasing demographic pressure on land use. The peak in suspended sediment load and hence soil erosion occurred between 1974 and 1980 when there is a five to tenfold increase relative to natural levels. This is attributed to the combined effects of dramatically increasing population, unregulated land use, deforestation and severe droughts in the early 1970's. We conclude that despite laudable attempts to instigate soil conservation measures, it is unlikely that there will be a sustainable reduction in soil erosion without a significant improvement in socio-economic conditions.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-04-01

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

  20. [Sesquiterpenoids from gorgonian Muriceides collaris].

    PubMed

    Shi, Xue-feng; He, Wei-hong; Li, Guo-qiang

    2015-09-01

    Seven guaiane-type sesquiterpenoids, a new compound 6-formyl-5-isopropyl-3-hydroxymethyl-7-methyl-1H-indene (1), a new natural product 5-isopropyl-3, 7-dimethyl-1H-indene-1-one (2), along with five known compounds: guaiazulene (3), 4-formyl-7-isopropyl-10-methylazulene (4), sesquiterpene ketolactone (5), alismoxide (6) and guaia-1 (5), 6-diene (7), were isolated from gorgonian Muriceides collaris collected in South China Sea. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis [MS, IR, 1H NMR, 13C NMR (DEPT), HMQC, HMBC, NOESY] and by comparison of the spectral data with those of the literatures.

  1. Does light explain damselfish Chromis viridis abundances observed over coral colonies?

    PubMed

    Ponton, D; Loiseau, N; Chabanet, P

    2012-06-01

    A single autonomous video camera was used to record the abundances of Chromis viridis over a branching Acropora sp. colony eight times per day over a period of 50 days. The poor explanatory power of global radiation suggests the need for recording the light really available to the fish, especially in the UV range. The increasing number of C. viridis observed with increasing wind along shore and water level may correspond to individuals swimming further from their shelter in order to get closer to the food carried by the water currents.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Diversity and antibacterial activities of fungi derived from the Gorgonian Echinogorgia rebekka from the South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ya-Nan; Shao, Chang-Lun; Zheng, Cai-Juan; Chen, Yi-Yan; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2011-01-01

    The diversity of symbiotic fungi associated with the gorgonian coral Echinogorgia rebekka from the Weizhou coral reef in the South China Sea was investigated. Combined with morphologic traits, ITS-rDNA sequences revealed 18 fungal strains from this gorgonian. All of the 18 fungi belonged to the phylum Ascomycota and were distributed among seven genera in five orders: Eurotiales (Aspergillus and Penicillium), Pleosporales (Alternaria), Capnodiales (Cladosporium), Trichosphaeriales (Nigrospora) and Hypocreales (Hypocrea and Nectria). Antibacterial activities of these fungal strains were investigated with five pathogenic bacteria. All of the 18 fungal strains displayed different levels of antibacterial activities, most of which exhibited moderate to high antibacterial activities to the Gram-positive pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Micrococcus tetragenus, and showed relatively low bioactivities to other three pathogenic bacteria. Several fungal strains in the genera Penicillium and Cladosporium with strong antibacterial activities provide potential for further research on isolation of bioactive secondary metabolites.

  5. Briarane diterpenoids from the gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    La, Ming-Ping; Li, Jiao; Li, Cui; Tang, Hua; Liu, Bao-Shu; Sun, Peng; Zhuang, Chun-Lin; Li, Tie-Jun; Zhang, Wen

    2014-12-01

    Seven new briarane diterpenoids, gemmacolides AS-AY (1-7), were isolated together with ten known analogues (8-17) from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by the detailed analysis of spectroscopic data and comparison with reported data. The absolute configuration of compounds was determined based on electronic circular dichroism (ECD) experiments and genetic correlations as well. Compounds 15 and 16 were reported for the first time for the gorgonian. In the preliminary in vitro bioassays, compound 5 showed potential growth inhibitory activity against MG63 cells.

  6. New polyhydroxylated steroid from the South China Sea gorgonian Anthogorgia caerulea.

    PubMed

    Sun, Ling-Ling; Shao, Chang-Lun; Hang, Hui; Guo, Zhi-Yong; Xing, Qian; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2013-01-01

    One new polyhydroxylated steroid, caerulsteroid A (1), along with nine known analogues (2-10), was isolated from the gorgonian coral Anthogorgia caerulea collected from the South China Sea. The structure of the new compound was elucidated by 1-D and 2-D NMR, and mass spectrometry. The absolute configuration of 1 was assigned on the basis of the absolute configurations of the related congeners 2 and 3, which were determined by application of the modified Mosher's method. The isolated compounds were assayed for their cytotoxicity, antimicrobial activity and lethality towards brine shrimp Artemia salina.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  8. Study on the chemical constituents of the South China Sea gorgonian Junceella juncea.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Xiao, Zhi-Hui; Huang, Jian-She; Wu, Jun; Li, Qing-Xin

    2004-12-01

    A new steroidal glycoside--4'-O-acetyl-3-O-[beta-D-arabino-pyranosyl-oxy]-cholest-5-ene-3beta,19-diol (1), and a new glycerol derivative--1,2-O-[2'-hydroxyoctadecyl]-glycerol (2), along with 16 known compounds were isolated from the EtOH/CH2Cl2 extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian coral Junceella juncea. The structures of 1 and 2 were established by extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data.

  9. Chemical and physical defenses of Singapore gorgonians (Octocorallia: Gorgonacea).

    PubMed

    Koh; Goh; Chou; Tan

    2000-08-23

    Gorgonians are abundant in tropical waters and their polyps are seldom predated on. This study investigates how gorgonians defend themselves chemically and physically against fish predation. Gorgonian extracts and sclerites were incorporated into fish feed and tested on reef fishes. Laboratory bioassays using Greyhead wrasses, Halichoeres purpurescens, as well as field bioassays showed five gorgonian species from the family Ellisellidae and three from the family Plexauridae collected from Singapore reefs to be deterrent towards fishes. Bioassays of fractions obtained from subsequent fractionation suggested synergistic or additive effects between compounds present in gorgonians. Sclerites incorporated into fish feed in their natural concentrations were also tested for fish deterrence and were positive for only two gorgonian species from the family Ellisellidae.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Linares, Cristina; Koutsoubas, Drosos; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

    Scleractinian corals, gorgonian octocorals, sponges and fishes were assessed near the cities of LaParguera, Guánica, Guayanilla, and Jobos along the southern coast of Puerto Rico in November – December 2010. Survey sites were targeted near areas with varying benthic...

  19. Small-scale environmental variation influences whether coral-dwelling fish promote or impede coral growth.

    PubMed

    Chase, T J; Pratchett, M S; Walker, S P W; Hoogenboom, M O

    2014-12-01

    Mutualistic symbioses are ubiquitous in nature and facilitate high biodiversity and productivity of ecosystems by enhancing the efficiency of energy and nutrient use within ecological communities. For example, small groups of fish that inhabit coral colonies in reef ecosystems potentially enhance coral growth through defense from coral predators, aeration of coral tissue and nutrient provisioning. This study examines whether the prevalence and consequences of fish-coral interactions vary among sites with different environmental conditions in a coral reef lagoon, using the humbug damselfish Dascyllus aruanus and its preferred coral host Pocillopora damicornis as a study system. Using a field experiment, we tested the site-specific effects of D. aruanus on coral growth, and show that the cost-benefit ratio for corals hosting fish varies with local environmental variation. Results of this study also demonstrate that fish prefer to inhabit coral colonies with particular branch-spacing characteristics, and that the local abundance of D. aruanus influences the proportion of coral colonies within a site that are occupied by fish rather than increasing the number of fish per colony. We also show that corals consistently benefit from hosting D. aruanus via defense from predation by corallivorous butterflyfish, regardless of local environmental conditions. These findings highlight the need to consider the potential for multiple scale- and state-dependent interaction effects when examining the ecology of fish-coral associations. We suggest that fluctuating cost-benefit ratios for species interactions may contribute to the maintenance of different colony phenotypes within coral populations.

  20. Modelling variations in corallite morphology of Galaxea fascicularis coral colonies with depth and light on coastal fringing reefs in the Wakatobi Marine National Park (S.E. Sulawesi, Indonesia).

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M James C; Smith, David J

    2006-04-01

    Coastal environments in the tropics can suffer from high sedimentation and low light levels. Galaxea fascicularis is a hermatypic coral that is relatively resilient to stress from bleaching and from sedimentation. Corallite dimensions--width, height, corallite densities and inter-corallite distances--of Galaxea fascicularis colonies varied significantly with depth, and so with incident light at the Sampela reef in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, S.E. Sulawesi, Indonesia. Modelling studies based on our data showed that corallite width decreased with the amount of incident light, while corallite height increased with the amount of incident light (r2 values of 0.835 for width and 0.869 for height). In all colonies, inter-corallite distance decreased significantly with the amount of incident light (r2 = 0.89). Colony width/height ratio increased in a linear fashion with inter-corallite distance for all colonies studied (r2 = 0.65). Current flow as judged using tags did not appear to be a factor in variations of corallite dimensions. Our results suggest that under low light conditions, distribution and size of corallites may optimise heterotrophic nutrition, while in conditions where light is not limiting, distribution and size of corallites may be optimal for photosynthesis.

  1. Evaluation of stony coral indicators for coral reef management.

    PubMed

    Fisher, William S; Fore, Leska S; Hutchins, Aaron; Quarles, Robert L; Campbell, Jed G; LoBue, Charles; Davis, Wayne S

    2008-10-01

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, US 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-a requirement for indicators used in regulatory assessments under authority of the Clean Water Act. 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, 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. The primary indicators demonstrated sufficient precision to detect levels of change that would be applicable in a regional-scale regulatory program. PMID:18715598

  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. Four new polyoxygenated gorgosterols from the gorgonian Isis hippuris.

    PubMed

    Uddin, Mohammad Helal; Hanif, Novriyandi; Trianto, Agus; Agarie, Yutaka; Higa, Tatsuo; Tanaka, Junichi

    2011-03-01

    Four new polyoxygenated steroids (1-4) together with four known ones (5-8) have been isolated from the gorgonian Isis hippuris. The structures of the new compounds have been elucidated by spectroscopic analysis and chemical conversion. All of the new steroids showed moderate cytotoxicity against cultured NBT-T2 cells.

  4. Coral can have growth anomalies

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. Lipid Content and Composition of Oocytes from Five Coral Species: Potential Implications for Future Cryopreservation Efforts

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Chiahsin; Wang, Li-Hsueh; Meng, Pei-Jie; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Tsai, Sujune

    2013-01-01

    Given the previously documented importance of lipid concentration and composition in the successful cryopreservation of gorgonian corals, these parameters were assessed in oocytes of five species of scleractinian coral; Platygyra daedalea, Echinopora gemmacea, Echinophyllia aspera, Oxypora lacera and Astreopora expansa. Wax esters, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, and fatty acids were all measured at detectable levels, and the latter were produced at significantly elevated quantities in E. gemmacea, E. aspera, and O. lacera. On the other hand, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, and wax ester were found at significantly higher concentrations in A. expansa oocytes. Triacylglycerol was not present in any species. Interestingly, the total lipid content of oocytes from all five scleractinians was significantly lower than that of oocytes of two gorgonian species, Junceella juncea and Junceella fragilis. As higher total lipid concentrations may be correlated with greater degrees of cellular membrane fluidity at lower temperatures, it stands to reason that gorgonian coral oocytes may be more likely to survive the cryopreservation process than oocytes of scleractinian corals. PMID:23469074

  9. 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.

  10. A new sesquiterpene from the Hainan gorgonian Menella kanisa Grassoff.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Chemical investigation of the gorgonian Menella kanisa Grassoff collected from the South China Sea led to the isolation of a new sesquiterpene, menecubebane A (1), together with three known compounds, 8-methoxy-trans-calamenene (2), 8,9-dihydro-linderazulene (3) and (3β)-oleanan-3-ol (4). The structure of 1 was determined by detailed analysis of the spectroscopic data especially the NOESY spectrum. All the compounds were evaluated for their cytotoxic, brine shrimp lethal and antifouling activities.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-05-01

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

  16. Diversity and antimicrobial activity of culturable fungi isolated from six species of the South China Sea gorgonians.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-Yong; Bao, Jie; Wang, Guang-Hua; He, Fei; Xu, Xin-Ya; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2012-10-01

    Fungi in gorgonians are now known to cause gorgonian diseases, but little attention has been paid to the nature of fungal communities associated with gorgonians. The diversity of culturable fungi associated with six species of healthy South China Sea gorgonians were investigated using a culture-dependent method followed by analysis of fungal internal transcribed spacer sequences. A total of 121 fungal isolates were recovered and identified using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool search program. These belonged to 41 fungal species from 20 genera. Of these, 30 species and 12 genera are new reports for gorgonians, and the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium were the most diverse and common in the six gorgonian species. Comparison of the fungal communities in the six gorgonian species, together with results from previous relevant studies, indicated that different gorgonian species and the same gorgonian species living in different geographic locations had different fungal communities. The gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea harbored the most fungal species and isolates, while Echinogorgia aurantiaca had the least fungal diversity. Among the six media used for fungal isolation, potato glucose agar yielded the highest isolates (27 isolates), while glucose peptone starch agar had the best recoverability of fungal species (15 species). The antimicrobial activity of the 121 fungal isolates was tested against three marine bacteria and two marine gorgonian pathogenic fungi. A relatively high proportion (38 %) of fungal isolates displayed distinct antibacterial and antifungal activity, suggesting that the gorgonian-associated fungi may aid their hosts in protection against pathogens. This is the first report comparing the diversity of fungal communities among the South China Sea gorgonians. It contributes to our knowledge of gorgonian-associated fungi and further increases the pool of fungi available for natural bioactive product screening.

  17. The Role of Vibrios in Diseases of Corals.

    PubMed

    Munn, Colin B

    2015-08-01

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

  18. The Role of Vibrios in Diseases of Corals.

    PubMed

    Munn, Colin B

    2015-08-01

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

  19. Environmental variabilities and the distribution of octocorals and black corals in Hong Kong.

    PubMed

    Yeung, C W; Cheang, C C; Lee, M W; Fung, H L; Chow, W K; Ang, P

    2014-08-30

    A recent comprehensive survey covering 125 sites in Hong Kong waters recorded 29 soft coral species in 14 genera, 38 species of gorgonians in 19 genera and six species of black corals in two genera. Environmental variabilities based on water quality data collected by Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department were analyzed using multivariate statistics to find variables that are significantly correlated with coral distribution patterns. Eleven water quality zones with similar environmental variabilities were recognized, which could further be classified into five groups, namely Inner Bay, Outer Bay, Eastern, Western and Southern waters. LINKTREE analysis provided an overall trend indicating the importance of salinity, sediment and nutrient loadings in affecting octocoral and black coral distribution from west to east of Hong Kong waters, and from inner to outer bays. Furthermore, water turbidity and wave exposure could also affect the coral distribution patterns from north, northeast to southern waters. PMID:24434001

  20. 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

  1. Steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Gao, Cheng-Hai; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Zhang, Si

    2010-02-01

    From the South China sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa, two new steroids, (22E)-14alpha-hydroxy-cholesta-1,4,22-trien-3-one (1) and 3-(1',2'-ethandiol)-cholest-3beta,5alpha,6alpha,11alpha-tetraol (2) were obtained, in addition to six known steroids. The structures of compounds 1 and 2 were determined by spectroscopic methods. Cytotoxicity of the six known steroids against human cancer cell lines A549, HONE1, and HeLa was evaluated by MTT methods, and their anti-larval activity was evaluated in settlement inhibition assays with laboratory-reared Balanus amphitrite and Bugular neritina larvae.

  2. 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.

  3. The Response of the Mediterranean Gorgonian Eunicella singularis to Thermal Stress Is Independent of Its Nutritional Regime

    PubMed Central

    Ezzat, Leïla; Merle, Pierre-Laurent; Furla, Paola; Buttler, Alexandre; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2013-01-01

    Over the last few decades, sessile benthic organisms from the Mediterranean Sea have suffered from the global warming of the world's oceans, and several mass mortality events were observed during warm summers. It has been hypothesized that mortality could have been due to a nutrient (food) shortage following the stratification of the water column. However, the symbiotic gorgonian Eunicella singularis has also presented a locally exceptional mortality, despite its autotrophic capacities through the photosynthesis of its dinoflagellate symbionts. Thus, this study has experimentally investigated the response of E. singularis to a thermal stress (temperature increase from 18 to 26°C), with colonies maintained more than 2 months under four nutritional diets: autotrophy only (AO), autotrophy and inorganic nitrogen addition (AN), autotrophy and heterotrophy (AH), heterotrophy only (HO). At 18°C, and contrary to many other anthozoans, supplementation of autotrophy with either inorganic nitrogen or food (heterotrophy) had no effect on the rates of respiration, photosynthesis, as well as in the chlorophyll, lipid and protein content. In the dark, heterotrophy maintained the gorgonian's metabolism, except a bleaching (loss of pigments), which did not affect the rates of photosynthesis. At 24°C, rates of respiration, and photosynthesis significantly decreased in all treatments. At 26°C, in addition to a decrease in the lipid content of all treatments, a bleaching was observed after 1 week in the AO treatment, while the AH and AN treatments resisted three weeks before bleaching. These last results suggest that, temperatures above 24°C impair the energetic reserves of this species and might explain the mortality events in the Mediterranean. PMID:23667711

  4. Microbiota of healthy corals are active against fungi in a light-dependent manner.

    PubMed

    Moree, Wilna J; McConnell, Oliver J; Nguyen, Don D; Sanchez, Laura M; Yang, Yu-Liang; Zhao, Xiling; Liu, Wei-Ting; Boudreau, Paul D; Srinivasan, Jayashree; Atencio, Librada; Ballesteros, Javier; Gavilán, Ronnie G; Torres-Mendoza, Daniel; Guzmán, Héctor M; Gerwick, William H; Gutiérrez, Marcelino; Dorrestein, Pieter C

    2014-10-17

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Bacterial attack of corals in polluted seawater.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, R; Chet, I

    1975-09-01

    Coral heads of the genusPlatigyra exposed to low concentrations of crude oil, copper sulfate, potassium phosphate, or dextrose were killed in periods of 5 to 10 days in aquarium studies. The chemicals stimulated the production of large quantities of mucus by the corals. In aquaria treated with antibiotics to prevent microbial growth,Platigyra survived the presence of these chemicals in the water, indicating a role of the microflora in the death of the corals. Evidence was obtained implicating predatory bacteria,Desulfovibrio andBeggiatoa, in the destruction of the stressed coral colonies.

  8. Pedal coral injury: a case report.

    PubMed

    Palmanovich, Ezequiel; Brin, Yaron S; Laver, Lior; Kish, Binyamin; Nyska, Meir

    2013-03-01

    Corals are marine animals that live in compact colonies. They secret calcium carbonate to form a skeletal structure. Coral sting or abrasions usually cause erythema and localized pain with a mild local toxic reaction. We describe a large bony injury in the hallux due to retained coral fragments in a young patient who sustained a mild injury during water sports in the Red Sea. The coral fragment was not removed during the first visit to ER, causing chronic local inflammation and ultimately a large bony injury. Vigorous localized debridement must be performed in all marine injuries to remove all possible fragments that can lead to irreversible local bony injury. PMID:23415763

  9. Two new compounds from gorgonian-associated fungus Aspergillus sp.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xin-Ya; Zhang, Xiao-Yong; He, Fei; Peng, Jiang; Nong, Xu-Hua; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2013-08-01

    One new gamma-lactone derivative 5-hydroxy-3-isopropyl-4-methoxyfuranone (1) and one new lactam derivative dehydrated-marinamide (2), along with two known compounds marinamide (3) and marinamide methyl ester (4) were isolated from the fermentation broth of the marine gorgonian-associated fungus Aspergillus sp. SCSGAF0093. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic and spectrometric analysis. Compound 1 showed significant toxicity to brine shrimp (Artemia salina) with a median lethal concentration (LC50) of 1.25 microM, and 3 inhibited protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 23.3 microg/mL.

  10. Purine alkaloids from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Huang, Hui

    2008-04-01

    Four new purine alkaloids, namely, 6-(1'-purine-6',8'-dionyl)suberosanone ( 1), 3,9-(2-imino-1-methyl-4-imidazolidinone-5-yl)isopropenylpurine-6,8-dione ( 2), 1-(3'-carbonylbutyl)purine-6,8-dione ( 3), and 9-(3'-carbonylbutyl)purine-6,8-dione ( 4), together with three known compounds, guanosine ( 5), thymidine ( 6), and adenosine ( 7), were isolated from the EtOH/CH 2Cl 2 extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. The structures of 1- 4 were determined on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data. Compounds 1- 4 all showed weak cytotoxicity toward human cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and A435.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Dirnwoeber, M; Herler, J

    2013-03-01

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

  14. Symbiodinium associations with diseased and healthy scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-06-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, V.H.; Ward, G.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  1. Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  2. Colonial America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Web Feet K-8, 2001

    2001-01-01

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

  3. Coral monitoring with fluorescence imaging lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasano, Masahiko; Kiriya, Nobuo; Yamanouchi, Hiroshi; Matsumoto, Akira; Hitomi, Kazuo; Tamura, Kenkichi

    2011-06-01

    It has been pointed out that globally hermatypic corals in coral reefs have been seriously damaged in recent years, and it is predicted that such damages will expand in area in the future. It is important to monitor corals globally, in detail, and over long-term periods, for preservation of the marine environment and biodiversity. The spot-check method, one of the major coral monitoring methods, is operated by snorkelers or divers, and therefore, its operation is limited by the seastate, and its monitoring areas are often for specific observation points. On the other hand, the satellite remote sensing, another major coral monitoring methods, can cover composite coral reef areas, but the image resolution is a few meters, and it is not possible to monitor small size coral colonies and deep sea areas. The boat-based fluorescence imaging lidar system has been developed to complement these coral monitoring methods. This system obtains linear coral observation data along the boat track, and makes it possible to build a cooperative coral monitoring network. Since most hermatypic corals have fluorescent proteins, living tissues can be monitored using the blue-to-green fluorescence from UV excitation. It is possible to observe the UV-excited fluorescence images from live coral even in the daytime, by the UV excited fluorescence imaging lidar. Additionally, laser bathymetry is also possible by time-of-flight measurement. We have succeeded in observing the pseudo-coral fluorescent images and depths down to 30 m depth at the testing basin. Secondly, we have succeeded in observing the live coral fluorescent images and their depths by the lidar system using a glass-bottom-boat at Taketomi island, Okinawa, Japan. The system summary and observed data are reported in this paper.

  4. Discovery of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in corals.

    PubMed

    Lesser, Michael P; Mazel, Charles H; Gorbunov, Maxim Y; Falkowski, Paul G

    2004-08-13

    Colonies of the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa exhibit a solar-stimulated orange-red fluorescence that is spectrally similar to a variety of fluorescent proteins expressed by corals. The source of this fluorescence is phycoerythrin in unicellular, nonheterocystis, symbiotic cyanobacteria within the host cells of the coral. The cyanobacteria coexist with the symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) of the coral and express the nitrogen-fixing enzyme nitrogenase. The presence of this prokaryotic symbiont in a nitrogen-limited zooxanthellate coral suggests that nitrogen fixation may be an important source of this limiting element for the symbiotic association.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. New 19-oxygenated steroid from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Cao, Fei; Liu, Hai-Yan; Zhao, Jie; Fang, Yu-Chun; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-01-01

    A new 19-oxygenated steroid, 25-acetate-nebrosteroid K (1), and five known steroids (2-6), along with one known 19-hydroxy steroidal glycoside (7) were obtained from the gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea collected from the South China Sea. The structure and relative configuration of 1 were elucidated by using comprehensive spectroscopic data including NOESY spectra. Compound 1 represents the first example of 19-oxygenated steroid with a 19-oic acid methyl ester group isolated from gorgonians. All of the isolated compounds were evaluated for lethal activity to brine shrimp Artemia salina and cytotoxicity against A549 and HL-60 cell lines. Among them, 1 showed strong lethality towards A. salina.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Do multi-branched colonial organisms exceed normal growth after partial mortality?

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez, Juan Armando; Lasker, Howard R

    2004-01-01

    One of the advantages of modular colonial growth is the capability to recover after partial mortality. Tolerance to partial mortality is a known property of some resistant species of plants that respond to mortality with vigorous regrowth or overcompensation. It is not clear whether modular marine invertebrates such as octocorals overcompensate. This study provides evidence that following injury to colonies (by breaking apical dominance), new growth exceeds normal rates of branching, as observed in some plants, in a degree correlated to the original multi-branched network setting (e.g. the number of original branches connected to main stem), in colonies of the Caribbean gorgonian octocoral Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata. This can be explained by the network of communicating vessels and canals inside octocoral colonies, which provide the structure for effective allocation of resources to regenerating parts. PMID:15101437

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

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

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

    PubMed

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Mikame, Yurika; Suzuki, Hidekazu

    2012-01-01

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

  15. N-(3-aminopropyl)subergorgamide, a new alkaloid from the gorgonian Paraplexaura sp.

    PubMed

    Liu, Fen; Li, Shuo; Ju, Zhi-Ran; Liu, Ting-Ting; Liang, Rui-Yu; Liao, Xiao-Jian; Xu, Shi-Hai

    2015-01-01

    A new alkaloid named N-(3-aminopropyl)subergorgamide (1), along with nine known nitrogen-containing compounds (2-10), was isolated from the organic extract of gorgonian Paraplexaura sp. collected from Zhanjiang in Naozhou Island, South China Sea. Their structures were established by detailed MS and NMR spectroscopic analyses, as well as by comparison with literature data.

  16. [Most advance on chemical and biological investigations of gorgonian-octocorals].

    PubMed

    Chai, Xingyun; Tang, Liying; Lei, Hui; Bai, Changcai; Sun, Jianfan; Li, Yunqiu; Liu, Yonghong

    2012-03-01

    This review presents the most recent chemical and biological investigations on one of the marine invertebrates, gorgonian octocoral. It summarizes all 432 new compounds published in 2002-2009, which consists of 46 sesquiterpenoids (including 2 new natural products, NNP), 282 diterpenoids (including 4 from Pennatulacea octocoral and one artifact), 76 steroids, and 29 alkaloids or other types (2 NNP included). In this paper, according to the structure division, the new compounds are described in combination with the taxonomy of the investigated animals, and its simultaneous bioactivity results. Novel skeletons and complex structures are paid most emphasis on its features, means of structural elucidation and the proposed biogenesis pathway. The source of all new compounds and the different diterpenoid skeleton types are all listed and analyzed, as well as the commonly used Chinese names or some proposed ones for diterpenoid skeletons. Furthermore, this papers deals with all biological test toward the gorgonian new metabolites, i.e. anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial(against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis etc), anti-malaria, and anti-fouling as well, in which anti-cancer activity and cytotoxicity were additionally, a discussion and prospect are proposed regarding chemical overview on gorgonian. This review, hopefully, can be useful in proving data and references for further chemical and biological research of China sea gorgonian, for the studies on chemical ecology, and for the discovery of new and bioactive compounds or the marine-derived leading targets.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Acanthovagasteroids A-D, four new 19-hydroxylated steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Acanthogorgia vagae Aurivillius.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wen; Guo, Yue-Wei; Mollo, Ernesto; Fontana, Angelo; Cimino, Guido

    2004-12-01

    Four new steroids, acanthovagasteroids A-D (1-4), along with two known analogues (5, 6), were isolated from the gorgonian Acanthogorgia vagae Aurivillius from the South China Sea. The structures of the new compounds, characterized with 19-hydroxy groups, were identified on the basis of extensive spectral analysis as well as by comparison with literature data. This is the first report of 19-hydroxy steroids from a gorgonian and suggests a possible biosynthetic relationship between 19-nor and 19-hydroxy steroids.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-10

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Restoration of coral populations in light of genetic diversity estimates

    PubMed Central

    Porto, I.; Zubillaga, A. L.

    2012-01-01

    Due to the importance of preserving the genetic integrity of populations, strategies to restore damaged coral reefs should attempt to retain the allelic diversity of the disturbed population; however, genetic diversity estimates are not available for most coral populations. To provide a generalized estimate of genetic diversity (in terms of allelic richness) of scleractinian coral populations, the literature was surveyed for studies describing the genetic structure of coral populations using microsatellites. The mean number of alleles per locus across 72 surveyed scleractinian coral populations was 8.27 (±0.75 SE). In addition, population genetic datasets from four species (Acropora palmata, Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea faveolata and Pocillopora damicornis) were analyzed to assess the minimum number of donor colonies required to retain specific proportions of the genetic diversity of the population. Rarefaction analysis of the population genetic datasets indicated that using 10 donor colonies randomly sampled from the original population would retain >50% of the allelic diversity, while 35 colonies would retain >90% of the original diversity. In general, scleractinian coral populations are genetically diverse and restoration methods utilizing few clonal genotypes to re-populate a reef will diminish the genetic integrity of the population. Coral restoration strategies using 10–35 randomly selected local donor colonies will retain at least 50–90% of the genetic diversity of the original population. PMID:22833700

  7. Restoration of coral populations in light of genetic diversity estimates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shearer, T. L.; Porto, I.; Zubillaga, A. L.

    2009-09-01

    Due to the importance of preserving the genetic integrity of populations, strategies to restore damaged coral reefs should attempt to retain the allelic diversity of the disturbed population; however, genetic diversity estimates are not available for most coral populations. To provide a generalized estimate of genetic diversity (in terms of allelic richness) of scleractinian coral populations, the literature was surveyed for studies describing the genetic structure of coral populations using microsatellites. The mean number of alleles per locus across 72 surveyed scleractinian coral populations was 8.27 (±0.75 SE). In addition, population genetic datasets from four species ( Acropora palmata, Montastraea cavernosa, Montastraea faveolata and Pocillopora damicornis) were analyzed to assess the minimum number of donor colonies required to retain specific proportions of the genetic diversity of the population. Rarefaction analysis of the population genetic datasets indicated that using 10 donor colonies randomly sampled from the original population would retain >50% of the allelic diversity, while 35 colonies would retain >90% of the original diversity. In general, scleractinian coral populations are genetically diverse and restoration methods utilizing few clonal genotypes to re-populate a reef will diminish the genetic integrity of the population. Coral restoration strategies using 10-35 randomly selected local donor colonies will retain at least 50-90% of the genetic diversity of the original population.

  8. Highly infectious symbiont dominates initial uptake in coral juveniles.

    PubMed

    Abrego, David; VAN Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2009-08-01

    The majority of reef-building corals acquire their obligate algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) from the environment. However, factors shaping the initial establishment of coral-algal symbioses, including parental effects, local environmental conditions and local availability of symbionts, are not well understood. This study monitored the uptake and maintenance of Symbiodinium in juveniles of two common corals, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora, that were reciprocally explanted between sites where adult colonies host different types of Symbiodinium. We found that coral juveniles were rapidly dominated by type D Symbiodinium, even though this type is not found in adult colonies (including the parental colonies) in four out of the five study populations. Furthermore, type D Symbiodinium was found in less than one-third of a wide range of coral species (n > 50) sampled at the two main study sites, suggesting that its dominance in the acroporid juveniles is not because it is the most abundant local endosymbiotic type. Moreover, dominance by type D was observed irrespective of the light intensity to which juveniles were exposed in a field study. In summary, despite its relatively low abundance in coral assemblages at the study sites and irrespective of the surrounding light environment, type D Symbiodinium is the main symbiont type initially acquired by juveniles of A. millepora and A. tenuis. We conclude that during early ontogeny in these corals, there are few barriers to the uptake of Symbiodinium types which differ from those found in parental colonies, resulting in dominance by a highly infectious and potentially opportunistic symbiont.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-10-01

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

  10. Hyperspectral and Physiological Analyses of Coral-Algal Interactions

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  11. Lonely populations in the deep: genetic structure of red gorgonians at the heads of submarine canyons in the north-western Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pérez-Portela, Rocío; Cerro-Gálvez, Elena; Taboada, Sergi; Tidu, Carlo; Campillo-Campbell, Carolina; Mora, Joan; Riesgo, Ana

    2016-09-01

    The red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata plays a central role in coralligenous ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, being relatively abundant in shallow habitats (5-35 m depth). Recently, deeper populations have been discovered at the heads of submarine canyons in the north-western Mediterranean Sea, between 50 and 70 m deep. Colonies from some of these deeper populations were exceptionally large (>1 m high), contrasting with the general prevalence of smaller size classes in shallower populations. Importantly, the high pressure of trawling activities on the nearby continental shelf could threaten these populations of large and old colonies. Although the genetic diversity and structure of populations in shallow habitats is relatively well known, very little is known about deeper populations. We aimed to assess the genetic structure, connectivity and potential demographic decline of six deep populations of P. clavata located at the heads of La Fonera, Blanes and Arenys de Mar submarine canyons, as well as potential gene flow between those and the two nearest shallow populations. A total of 188 individuals were genotyped using nine microsatellite loci. Results showed strong genetic differentiation among populations in different submarine canyons, among populations within one of the canyons and between shallow and deep populations. Gene flow among populations was very limited, estimates of effective population size in some populations were small, and evidence of recent population reductions (bottlenecks) was detected in several populations. The large genetic differentiation in populations of P. clavata among canyons is related to limited effective dispersal.

  12. Role of evolutionary and ecological factors in the reproductive success and the spatial genetic structure of the temperate gorgonian Paramuricea clavata

    PubMed Central

    Mokhtar-Jamaï, Kenza; Coma, Rafel; Wang, Jinliang; Zuberer, Frederic; Féral, Jean-Pierre; Aurelle, Didier

    2013-01-01

    Dispersal and mating features strongly influence the evolutionary dynamics and the spatial genetic structure (SGS) of marine populations. For the first time in a marine invertebrate, we examined individual reproductive success, by conducting larval paternity assignments after a natural spawning event, combined with a small-scale SGS analysis within a population of the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata. Thirty four percent of the larvae were sired by male colonies surrounding the brooding female colonies, revealing that the bulk of the mating was accomplished by males from outside the studied area. Male success increased with male height and decreased with increasing male to female distance. The parentage analyses, with a strong level of self-recruitment (25%), unveiled the occurrence of a complex family structure at a small spatial scale, consistent with the limited larval dispersal of this species. However, no evidence of small scale SGS was revealed despite this family structure. Furthermore, temporal genetic structure was not observed, which appears to be related to the rather large effective population size. The low level of inbreeding found suggests a pattern of random mating in this species, which disagrees with expectations that limited larval dispersal should lead to biparental inbreeding. Surface brooding and investment in sexual reproduction in P. clavata contribute to multiple paternity (on average 6.4 fathers were assigned per brood), which enhance genetic diversity of the brood. Several factors may have contributed to the lack of biparental inbreeding in our study such as (i) the lack of sperm limitation at a small scale, (ii) multiple paternity, and (iii) the large effective population size. Thus, our results indicate that limited larval dispersal and complex family structure do not necessarily lead to biparental inbreeding and SGS. In the framework of conservation purposes, our results suggested that colony size, proximity among colonies and the

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  14. The Construction of a Coral Implantation Base and the Proof Experiment by Electrodeposition Method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoshitake, Masami; Nojima, Satoshi; Tokuyama, Hidekazu; Haraguchi, Satoru; Kadomoto, Yukio; Yoshida, Kazuo

    In recent years, we are facing a decline of coral reefs by bleaching and death of coral colonies, which is casued by rising of ocean temperatures presumably due to global warming and pollution due to human activity. It is our urgent issue to protect and reproduce coral reefs in a global scale. We propose an electrodeposition method using calcium and magnesium contained in natural seawater as a effective and way to revive coral reefs, because a product of electrodeposition characterized by porous texture provides suitable holes for implantation of coral larvae. We expect that the method creates a diverse coral reefs community similar to natural one comparing with other growth method. Since 2008, we have conducted coral growth experiments using electrodeposition in Yoronjima. As a result, Acropora sp., Porites sp. and Pocillopora sp. are observed, such as implantation of several types of coral larvae, and confirmed a growth of coral larvae.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-04-01

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

  18. 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

  19. New polyoxygenated steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia aurantiaca.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Yunqi; Qi, Shuhua; Zhang, Si; Yang, Jin; Xiao, Zhihui

    2006-07-01

    Three new polyoxygenated steroids, named 3beta,7alpha,9alpha-trihydroxy-cholestan-6-one (1), 3beta,5alpha,6beta-trihydroxycholestan-1-one (2) and cholestane-3beta,5alpha,6beta,11beta-tetrol (3), along with four known steroids (4-7) were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia aurantiaca. The structures of 1-3 were established by extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data.

  20. Chemical constituents of the Gorgonian Dichotella fragilis (Ridleg) from the South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yuan-Ming; Shao, Chang-Lun; Wang, Chang-Yun; Huang, Hui; Xu, Ying; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2011-09-01

    Two new steroidal glycosides, fragilioside A (1) and fragilioside B (2), along with five known compounds (3-7) were isolated from the gorgonian Dichotella fragilis (Ridleg) collected from the South China Sea. The structures of the new compounds (1 and 2) were elucidated by comprehensive analysis of spectral data, especially 2D NMR. The brine shrimp lethality and antifouling activity of the isolated compounds were also evaluated.

  1. A new briarane-type diterpenoid from the South China Sea Gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Sun, Jian-Fan; Yang, Bin; Zhou, Xue-Feng; Yang, Xian-Wen; Wang, Lishu; Liu, Yonghong

    2015-01-01

    One new briarane-type diterpenoid, dichotellide V (1), along with four known analogues, gemmacolide N (2), dichotellide J (3), junceelin A (4) and junceellolide A (5), was isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea. All of the isolated compounds (1-5) were established by comprehensive analysis of the spectral data, especially 1D and 2D NMR (HMQC and HMBC) spectra. The cytotoxic activities of these compounds were evaluated.

  2. New briarane-type diterpenoids from gorgonian Ellisella dollfusi from the South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yuan-Ming; Shao, Chang-Lun; Huang, Hui; Zhang, Xiu-Li; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-01-01

    Two new briarane-type diterpenoids, dollfusilin A (1) and dollfusilin B (2), along with five known briarane-type diterpenoids (3-7), were isolated from the gorgonian Ellisella dollfusi collected from the South China Sea. The structures of the two new compounds (1 and 2) were elucidated through a comprehensive analysis of spectroscopic data, especially 2D NMR. The bioactivities of the isolated compounds were evaluated using the zebrafish toxicity model.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

  4. A precise and non-destructive method to calculate the surface area in living scleractinian corals using X-ray computed tomography and 3D modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laforsch, C.; Christoph, E.; Glaser, C.; Naumann, M.; Wild, C.; Niggl, W.

    2008-12-01

    The surface area of corals represents a major reference parameter for the standardization of flux rates, for coral growth investigations, and for investigations of coral metabolism. The methods currently used to determine the surface area of corals are rather approximate approaches lacking accuracy, or are invasive and often destructive methods that are inapplicable for experiments involving living corals. This study introduces a novel precise and non-destructive technique to quantify surface area in living coral colonies by applying computed tomography (CT) and subsequent 3D reconstruction. Living coral colonies of different taxa were scanned by conventional medical CT either in air or in sea water. Resulting data volumes were processed by 3D modeling software providing realistic 3D coral skeleton surface reconstructions, thus enabling surface area measurements. Comparisons of CT datasets obtained from calibration bodies and coral colonies proved the accuracy of the surface area determination. Surface area quantifications derived from two different surface rendering techniques applied for scanning living coral colonies showed congruent results (mean deviation ranging from 1.32 to 2.03%). The validity of surface area measurement was verified by repeated measurements of the same coral colonies by three test persons. No significant differences between all test persons in all coral genera and in both surface rendering techniques were found (independent sample t-test: all n.s.). Data analysis of a single coral colony required approximately 15 to 30 min for a trained user using the isosurface technique regardless of the complexity and growth form of the latter, rendering the method presented in this study as a time-saving and accurate method to quantify surface areas in both living coral colonies and bare coral skeletons.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Symbiodinium photosynthesis in Caribbean octocorals.

    PubMed

    Ramsby, Blake D; Shirur, Kartick P; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Goulet, Tamar L

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Symbiodinium Photosynthesis in Caribbean Octocorals

    PubMed Central

    Ramsby, Blake D.; Shirur, Kartick P.

    2014-01-01

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

  10. 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

    2012-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lirman, D.

    2001-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

  19. Effects of terrestrial runoff on the ecology of corals and coral reefs: review and synthesis.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, Katharina E

    2005-02-01

    This paper reviews and evaluates the current state of knowledge on the direct effects of terrestrial runoff on (1) the growth and survival of hard coral colonies, (2) coral reproduction and recruitment, and (3) organisms that interact with coral populations (coralline algae, bioeroders, macroalgae and heterotrophic filter feeders as space competitors, pathogens, and coral predators). The responses of each of these groups are evaluated separately against the four main water quality parameters: (1) increased dissolved inorganic nutrients, (2) enrichment with particulate organic matter, (3) light reduction from turbidity and (4) increased sedimentation. This separation facilitates disentangling and understanding the mechanisms leading to changes in the field, where many contaminants and many responses co-occur. The review also summarises geographic and biological factors that determine local and regional levels of resistance and resilience to degradation. It provides a conceptual aid to assess the kind of change(s) likely to occur in response to changing coastal water quality.

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

    PubMed

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

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

  1. From global to local genetic structuring in the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata: the interplay between oceanographic conditions and limited larval dispersal.

    PubMed

    Mokhtar-Jamaï, K; Pascual, M; Ledoux, J-B; Coma, R; Féral, J-P; Garrabou, J; Aurelle, D

    2011-08-01

    Defining the scale of connectivity among marine populations and identifying the barriers to gene flow are tasks of fundamental importance for understanding the genetic structure of populations and for the design of marine reserves. Here, we investigated the population genetic structure at three spatial scales of the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata (Cnidaria, Octocorallia), a key species dwelling in the coralligenous assemblages of the Mediterranean Sea. Colonies of P. clavata were collected from 39 locations across the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco to Turkey and analysed using microsatellite loci. Within three regions (Medes, Marseille and North Corsica), sampling was obtained from multiple locations and at different depths. Three different approaches (measures of genetic differentiation, Bayesian clustering and spatially explicit maximum-difference algorithm) were used to determine the pattern of genetic structure. We identified genetic breaks in the spatial distribution of genetic diversity, which were concordant with oceanographic conditions in the Mediterranean Sea. We revealed a high level of genetic differentiation among populations and a pattern of isolation by distance across the studied area and within the three regions, underlining short effective larval dispersal in this species. We observed genetic differentiation among populations in the same locality dwelling at different depths, which may be explained by local oceanographic conditions and which may allow a process of local adaptation of the populations to their environment. We discuss the implications of our results for the conservation of the species, which is exposed to various threats.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Historical thermal regimes define limits to coral acclimatization.

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

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

  10. Fluorescent bands in massive corals record centuries of coastal rainfall

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isdale, Peter

    1984-08-01

    Massive coral colonies on the Great Barrier Reef grow outwards at 5-25 mm yr-1 (ref. 1). Skeletal density varies seasonally in all massive corals from the Great Barrier Reef and an exact temporal record of growth can be obtained by X-radiography of appropriately cut sections of the colony2,3. Environmental influences on coral growth have been described from such analyses4-6. This is the first report from the skeletons of massive corals of yellow green fluorescent bands which appear under long-wave UV light. Such fluorescence is confined to corals growing within 20 km of the shore and is not present in massive corals from mid- and outer shelf reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef region. The timing, width and intensity of the fluorescent bands correlate strongly with summer, monsoonal rainfall and coastal runoff. Large colonies, several centuries old, can provide long records of the strength and periodicity of terrestrial runoff to the tropical nearshore environment. Such records are potentially important to climatology, meteorology, agriculture, civil engineering and management of the Great Barrier Reef.

  11. SYMBIODINIUM (DINOPHYTA) DIVERSITY AND STABILITY IN AQUARIUM CORALS(1).

    PubMed

    Smith, Robin T; Pinzón, Jorge H; LaJeunesse, Todd C

    2009-10-01

    Indo-Pacific reef corals growing for years in closed-system aquaria provide an alternate means to investigate host-symbiont specificity and stability. The diversity of dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) from coral communities in private and public aquaria was investigated using molecular-genetic analyses. Of the 29 symbiont types (i.e., species) identified, 90% belonged to the most prevalent group of Symbiodinium harbored by Indo-Pacific reef corals, Clade C, while the rest belonged to Clade D. Sixty-five percent of all types were known from field surveys conducted throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans. Because specific coral-dinoflagellate partnerships appear to have defined geographic distributions, correspondence of the same symbionts in aquarium and field-collected specimens identifies regions where particular colonies must have been collected in the wild. Symbiodinium spp. in clade D, believed to be "stress-tolerant" and/or "opportunistic," occurred in a limited number of individual colonies. The absence of a prevalent, or "weedy," symbiont suggests that conditions under which aquarium corals are grown do not favor competitive replacements of their native symbiont populations. The finding of typical and diverse assemblages of Symbiodinium spp. among aquarium corals living many years under variable chemical/physical conditions, artificial and natural light, while undergoing fragmentation periodically, indicates that individual colonies maintain stable, long-term symbiotic associations.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-09-01

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

  14. Growth-rate influences on coral climate proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-15

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

  16. Extreme Longevity in Proteinaceous Deep-Sea Corals

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-02-09

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-15

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

  18. Light and the bioenergetics of a symbiotic coral

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-12-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1990-01-01

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

  20. A cytotoxic sesquiterpene alkaloid from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Li, Xiang; Li, Qing-Xin

    2005-08-01

    A new sesquiterpene alkaloid, 6-(9'-purine-6',8'-diolyl)-2beta-suberosanone (1), together with three known sesquiterpenes, suberosenol A (2), subergorgic acid (3), and subergorgiol (4), was isolated from the EtOH/CH2Cl2 extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. The structure of 1 was determined through spectroscopic methods. Compound 1 showed moderate cytotoxicity against the human breast carcinoma MDA-MB-231 cell line with an IC50 of 8.87 microg/mL.

  1. Five sesquiterpenoids from a marine-derived fungus Aspergillus sp. isolated from a gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Wei, Mei-Yan; Wang, Chang-Yun; Liu, Qing-Ai; Shao, Chang-Lun; She, Zhi-Gang; Lin, Yong-Cheng

    2010-01-01

    Three new phenolic bisabolane-type sesquiterpenoids: (+)-methyl sydowate (1), 7-deoxy-7,14-didehydrosydonic acid (2), and 7-deoxy-7,8-didehydrosydonic acid (3), together with two known fungal metabolites were isolated from the fermentation broth of a marine-derived fungus Aspergillus sp., which was isolated in turn from a gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea collected from the South China Sea. Their structures were elucidated by combined spectroscopic methods, and the structure of 1 was further confirmed by single-crystal X-ray data.

  2. Six new tetraprenylated alkaloids from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia pseudossapo.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhang-Hua; Cai, Ying-Hong; Fan, Cheng-Qi; Tang, Gui-Hua; Luo, Hai-Bin; Yin, Sheng

    2014-02-01

    Six new tetraprenylated alkaloids, designated as malonganenones L-Q (1-6), were isolated from the gorgonian Echinogorgia pseudossapo, collected in Daya Bay of Guangdong Province, China. The structures of 1-6 featuring a methyl group at N-3 and a tetraprenyl chain at N-7 in the hypoxanthine core were established by extensive spectroscopic analyses. Compounds 1-6 were tested for their inhibitory activity against the phosphodiesterases (PDEs)-4D, 5A, and 9A, and compounds 1 and 6 exhibited moderate inhibitory activity against PDE4D with IC₅₀ values of 8.5 and 20.3 µM, respectively.

  3. Bioactive briarane diterpenoids from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Li, Cui; La, Ming-Ping; Tang, Hua; Pan, Wei-Hua; Sun, Peng; Krohn, Karsten; Yi, Yang-Hua; Li, Ling; Zhang, Wen

    2012-07-01

    Six new briarane diterpenoids, gemmacolides T-Y (1-6), were isolated together with three known analogs, juncenolide J (7), praelolide (8), and junceellolide C (9), from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by detailed spectroscopic analysis and comparison with reported data. The absolute configuration was suggested based on biosynthetic considerations. In an in vitro bioassay, compounds 3 and 6 showed potent growth inhibition towards tumor cell lines of A549 and MG63, being stronger than the positive control of adriamycin. These compounds also exhibited weak antimicrobial activity against the bacterium Escherichia coli and the fungi Microbotryum violaceum and Septoria tritici.

  4. Penimethavone A, a flavone from a gorgonian-derived fungus Penicillium chrysogenum.

    PubMed

    Hou, Xue-Mei; Wang, Chang-Yun; Gu, Yu-Cheng; Shao, Chang-Lun

    2016-10-01

    A novel flavone, penimethavone A (1), possessing a rare unique methyl group at ring-B, was isolated from the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum cultured from a gorgonian Carijoa sp. collected from the South China Sea. The structure was elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analysis and by comparison with related known compound. Compound 1 showed selective and moderate cytotoxicity against cervical cancer (HeLa) and rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines with IC50 values of 8.41 and 8.18 μM, respectively.

  5. New pentahydroxylated steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Liao, Xiao-Jian; Tang, Li-Dan; Liang, Yuan-Wei; Jian, Shui-Lian; Xu, Shi-Hai; Liu, Yong-Hong

    2012-02-01

    Two new pentahydroxylated steroids, (3β,12β,16β,23E)-cholesta-5,23-diene-3,12,16,20,25-pentaol (1) and (3β,12β,16β)-cholesta-5,25(26)-diene-3,12,16,20,24-pentaol (2), were isolated from the EtOH extract of the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. In addition, four known steroids were detected. The structures of these compounds were established by spectroscopic methods and comparison of their data with those of the related known compounds. In addition, the cyctotoxicities of the compounds were evaluated against selected cancer cell lines.

  6. Antiviral C-25 epimers of 26-acetoxy steroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia rebekka.

    PubMed

    Cao, Fei; Shao, Chang-Lun; Chen, Min; Zhang, Meng-Qi; Xu, Kai-Xia; Meng, Hong; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-06-27

    Four new steroids with an acetoxy linked at the end of the side chain, echrebsteroids A-D (1-4) were obtained from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia rebekka. The absolute configurations of 1-3 were determined using the modified Mosher's method on the hydrolysis products. The isolation of the pair of epimers (2 and 3) represents the first reported separation of C-25 epimers of 26-acetoxy steroids. The (25R)-epimer (3) exhibited promising antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus with an IC50 value of 0.19 μM and a comparatively higher therapeutic ratio (TC50/IC50 = 128).

  7. Alkaloids and sesquiterpenes from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia pseudossapo.

    PubMed

    Gao, Cheng-Hai; Wang, Yi-Fei; Li, Shen; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Qi, Shu-Hua

    2011-01-01

    Five zoanthoxanthin alkaloids (1-5) and four sesquiterpenes (6-9) were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Echinogorgia pseudossapo. Their structures were determined on the bases of extensive spectroscopic analyses, including 1D and 2D NMR data. Among them, pseudozoanthoxanthins III and IV (1-2), 8-hydroxy-6β-methoxy-14- oxooplop-6,12-olide (6) and 3β-methoxyguaian-10(14)-en-2β-ol (7) were new, 1 and 3 showed mild anti-HSV-1 activity, and 7 showed significant antilarval activity towards Balanus amphitrite larvae.

  8. Two new eunicellin-based diterpenoids from the South China Sea gorgonian Muricella sibogae Nutting.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yuan-Ming; Chen, Min; Fu, Xiu-Mei; Fang, Yu-Chun; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-01-01

    Two new eunicellin-based diterpenoids, sibogins A (1) and B (2), along with one known analogue (3), and four known 9,10-secosteroids (4-7), were isolated from the gorgonian Muricella sibogae Nutting collected from the South China Sea. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by comprehensive analysis of spectroscopic data, especially by using 2D NMR spectra. The antifouling activity on barnacle Balanus amphitrite and lethality towards brine shrimp Artemia salina of all the isolated compounds were evaluated.

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

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    PubMed

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

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

  14. A novel method for coral explant culture and micropropagation.

    PubMed

    Vizel, Maya; Loya, Yossi; Downs, Craig A; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti

    2011-06-01

    We describe here a method for the micropropagation of coral that creates progeny from tissue explants derived from a single polyp or colonial corals. Coral tissue explants of various sizes (0.5-2.5 mm in diameter) were manually microdissected from the solitary coral Fungia granulosa. Explants could be maintained in an undeveloped state or induced to develop into polyps by manipulating environmental parameters such as light and temperature regimes, as well as substrate type. Fully developed polyps were able to be maintained for a long-term in a closed sea water system. Further, we demonstrate that mature explants are also amenable to this technique with the micropropagation of second-generation explants and their development into mature polyps. We thereby experimentally have established coral clonal lines that maintain their ability to differentiate without the need for chemical induction or genetic manipulation. The versatility of this method is also demonstrated through its application to two other coral species, the colonial corals Oculina patigonica and Favia favus.

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

    PubMed

    Madin, Joshua S; Connolly, Sean R

    2006-11-23

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  17. 13C-18O bonding (Δ47) in deep-sea corals: a calibration study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  18. Scleractinian coral population size structures and growth rates indicate coral resilience on the fringing reefs of North Jamaica.

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M J C

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs throughout the world are under severe challenges from many environmental factors. This paper quantifies the size structure of populations and the growth rates of corals from 2000 to 2008 to test whether the Discovery Bay coral colonies showed resilience in the face of multiple acute stressors of hurricanes and bleaching. There was a reduction in numbers of colonies in the smallest size class for all the species at all the sites in 2006, after the mass bleaching of 2005, with subsequent increases for all species at all sites in 2007 and 2008. Radial growth rates (mm yr(-1)) of non-branching corals and linear extension rates (mm yr(-1)) of branching corals calculated on an annual basis from 2000-2008 showed few significant differences either spatially or temporally. At Dairy Bull reef, live coral cover increased from 13+/-5% in 2006 to 20+/-9% in 2007 and 31+/-7% in 2008, while live Acropora species increased from 2+/-2% in 2006 to 10+/-4% in 2007 and 22+/-7% in 2008. These studies indicate good levels of coral resilience on the fringing reefs around Discovery Bay in Jamaica.

  19. Intrinsic Constraints on Sympodial Growth Morphologies of Azooxanthellate Scleractinian Coral Dendrophyllia

    PubMed Central

    Sentoku, Asuka; Ezaki, Yoichi

    2013-01-01

    Background Asexual increase occurs in virtually all colonial organisms. However, little is known about the intrinsic mechanisms that control asexual reproduction and the resultant morphologies of colonies. Scleractinian corals, both symbiotic (zoaxanthellate) and non-symbiotic (azooxanthellate) corals are known to form elaborate colonies. To better understand the growth mechanisms that control species-specific type of colony in azooxanthellate dendrophyllid scleractinian corals, we have studied details of the budding pattern in the sympodial colonies of Dendrophyllia boschmai and Dendrophyllia cribrosa. Principal Findings Budding exhibits the following regularities: (1) the two directive septa of offset corallites are oriented almost perpendicular to the growth direction of parent corallites; (2) offsets generally occur in either of the lateral primary septa that occur on one side of a corallite; the individuals thus show a definite polarity with respect to the directive septa, and only when branching dichotomously offsets occur in both primary septa; (3) the lateral corallites grow more-or-less diagonally upwards; and (4) the regularities and polarities are maintained throughout growth. Given these regularities, D. boschmai grows in a zigzag fashion by alternately budding on the right and left sites. In contrast, D. cribrosa grows helically by budding at a particular site. Conclusions/Significance The strict constraints on budding regularities and shifts in budding sites observed in the sympodial growth forms of corals greatly affect resulting morphologies in azooxanthellate coral colonies. A precise understanding of these intrinsic constraints leads to a fundamental comprehension of colony-forming mechanisms in modular organisms. PMID:23667672

  20. Bacterial communities of the gorgonian octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae.

    PubMed

    Correa, Hebelin; Haltli, Brad; Duque, Carmenza; Kerr, Russell

    2013-11-01

    Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae is a common inhabitant of Caribbean reefs and is a well-known source of diterpenes with diverse biological activities. Notably, this octocoral is the sole source of the pseudopterosin family of anti-inflammatory diterpenes and is harvested to supply commercial demand for these metabolites. We have characterized the composition of the bacterial community associated with P. elisabethae collected from Providencia Island, Colombia, using both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches. Culture-independent analysis revealed that the bacterial communities were composed of eight phyla, of which Proteobacteria was the most abundant. At the class level, bacterial communities were dominated by Gammaproteobacteria (82-87 %). Additionally, operational taxonomic units related to Pseudomonas and Endozoicomonas species were the most abundant phylotypes consistently associated with P. elisabethae colonies. Culture-dependent analysis resulted in the identification of 40 distinct bacteria classified as Bacilli (15), Actinobacteria (12), Gammaproteobacteria (9), Alphaproteobacteria (3), and Betaproteobacteria (1). Only one of the 40 cultured bacteria was closely related to a dominant phylotype detected in the culture-independent study, suggesting that conventional culturing techniques failed to culture the majority of octocoral-associated bacterial diversity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first characterization of the bacterial diversity associated with P. elisabethae.

  1. Community-level destruction of hard corals by the sea urchin Diadema setosum.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Jian-Wen; Lau, Dickey C C; Cheang, Chi-chiu; Chow, Wing-kuen

    2014-08-30

    Sea urchins are common herbivores and bioeroders of coral ecosystems, but rarely have they been reported as corallivores. We determined the spatial pattern of hard coral damage due to corallivory and bioerosion by the sea urchin Diadema setosum Leske in Hong Kong waters. Coral damage was common at the northeastern sites, with 23.7 - 90.3% colonies being either collapsed or severely damaged with >25% tissue loss. Many genera of corals were impacted by the sea urchin but the damage was most obvious for the structure forming genus Platygyra. The percentage of severely damaged and collapsed coral had significant positive correlation with the abundance of D. setosum, which ranged from 0.01 to 5.2 individuals per coral head or 0.1 - 21.1 individuals m(-2) across the study sites. Remedial management actions such as sea urchin removal are urgently needed to save these fringing coral communities.

  2. A Century of Surface Productivity Recorded in the Skeleton of a Deep-Sea Coral.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, B.; Risk, M. J.; Stone, R.

    2004-12-01

    "Poor understanding of the nutrient dynamics in the Gulf of Alaska results from insufficient uninterrupted, long-term observations" (PICES, 2004). Failing an instrumental record, oceanographers must increasingly rely on proxies. The utilization of deep-water corals as environmental recorders has only recently been recognized: they may fill in the many gaps present in instrumental records. Primnoa spp. is a long-lived gorgonian coral common in the northeastern Pacific. The abundance levels of \\delta15N and \\delta13C in the gorgonin portion of the skeleton have been correlated to surface productivity (Sherwood et al, 2004). Primnoa spp. can consequently be used as an historical proxy of productivity. A Primnoa specimen was obtained from 58.38 N and 148.77 W in the Gulf of Alaska. The coral was dead when collected, and died sometime after bomb testing, in the mid-1950's. Its lifespan was more than 100 years. Annual banding in the skeleton is quite clear, allowing tight dating control. Isotopic abundances of \\delta15N ranged from 10.2 to 14.4, suggesting the specimen was carnivorous, feeding primarily on zooplankton. Levels of \\delta13C ranged from -17.7 to -19.4, and exhibit decadal cyclical characteristic of the decadal patterns in the Gulf of Mexico. By matching cycles in isotopic abundances with historical data, we have been able to estimate time of death. This one coral specimen therefore extends the instrumental record by approximately 70 years.

  3. Ancient DNA from coral-hosted Symbiodinium reveal a static mutualism over the last 172 years.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Propagation of the threatened staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: methods to minimize the impacts of fragment collection and maximize production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lirman, D.; Thyberg, T.; Herlan, J.; Hill, C.; Young-Lahiff, C.; Schopmeyer, S.; Huntington, B.; Santos, R.; Drury, C.

    2010-09-01

    Coral reef restoration methods such as coral gardening are becoming increasingly considered as viable options to mitigate reef degradation and enhance recovery of depleted coral populations. In this study, we describe several aspects of the coral gardening approach that demonstrate this methodology is an effective way of propagating the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: (1) the growth of colonies within the nursery exceeded the growth rates of wild staghorn colonies in the same region; (2) the collection of branch tips did not result in any further mortality to the donor colonies beyond the coral removed for transplantation; (3) decreases in linear extension of the donor branches were only temporary and donor branches grew faster than control branches after an initial recovery period of approximately 3-6 weeks; (4) fragmentation did not affect the growth rates of non-donor branches within the same colony; (5) small branch tips experienced initial mortality due to handling and transportation but surviving tips grew well over time; and (6) when the growth of the branch tips is added to the regrowth of the fragmented donor branches, the new coral produced was 1.4-1.8 times more than new growth in undisturbed colonies. Based on these results, the collection of small (2.5-3.5 cm) branch tips was an effective propagation method for this branching coral species resulting in increased biomass accumulation and limited damage to parental stocks.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Mechanisms of damage to corals exposed to sedimentation.

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-12

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  8. Impact of sea-level rise and coral mortality on the wave dynamics and wave forces on barrier reefs.

    PubMed

    Baldock, T E; Golshani, A; Callaghan, D P; Saunders, M I; Mumby, P J

    2014-06-15

    A one-dimensional wave model was used to investigate the reef top wave dynamics across a large suite of idealized reef-lagoon profiles, representing barrier coral reef systems under different sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. The modeling shows that the impacts of SLR vary spatially and are strongly influenced by the bathymetry of the reef and coral type. A complex response occurs for the wave orbital velocity and forces on corals, such that the changes in the wave dynamics vary reef by reef. Different wave loading regimes on massive and branching corals also leads to contrasting impacts from SLR. For many reef bathymetries, wave orbital velocities increase with SLR and cyclonic wave forces are reduced for certain coral species. These changes may be beneficial to coral health and colony resilience and imply that predicting SLR impacts on coral reefs requires careful consideration of the reef bathymetry and the mix of coral species.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gleason, M. G.

    1993-11-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2010-01-01

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

  14. Endosymbiotic flexibility associates with environmental sensitivity in scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  20. Bio-optical modeling of photosynthetic pigments in corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-30

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  4. Patterns of gene expression in a scleractinian coral undergoing natural bleaching.

    PubMed

    Seneca, Francois O; Forêt, Sylvain; Ball, Eldon E; Smith-Keune, Carolyn; Miller, David J; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2010-10-01

    Coral bleaching is a major threat to coral reefs worldwide and is predicted to intensify with increasing global temperature. This study represents the first investigation of gene expression in an Indo-Pacific coral species undergoing natural bleaching which involved the loss of algal symbionts. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction experiments were conducted to select and evaluate coral internal control genes (ICGs), and to investigate selected coral genes of interest (GOIs) for changes in gene expression in nine colonies of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora undergoing bleaching at Magnetic Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Among the six ICGs tested, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the ribosomal protein genes S7 and L9 exhibited the most constant expression levels between samples from healthy-looking colonies and samples from the same colonies when severely bleached a year later. These ICGs were therefore utilised for normalisation of expression data for seven selected GOIs. Of the seven GOIs, homologues of catalase, C-type lectin and chromoprotein genes were significantly up-regulated as a result of bleaching by factors of 1.81, 1.46 and 1.61 (linear mixed models analysis of variance, P < 0.05), respectively. We present these genes as potential coral bleaching response genes. In contrast, three genes, including one putative ICG, showed highly variable levels of expression between coral colonies. Potential variation in microhabitat, gene function unrelated to the stress response and individualised stress responses may influence such differences between colonies and need to be better understood when designing and interpreting future studies of gene expression in natural coral populations.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-06-01

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

  6. The role of competition in the phase shift to dominance of the zoanthid Palythoa cf. variabilis on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Cruz, Igor Cristino Silva; Meira, Verena Henschen; de Kikuchi, Ruy Kenji Papa; Creed, Joel Christopher

    2016-04-01

    Phase shift phenomena are becoming increasingly common. However, they are also opportunities to better understand how communities are structured. In Southwest Atlantic coral reefs, a shift to the zoanthid Palythoa cf. variabilis dominance has been described. To test if competition drove this process, we carried out a manipulative experiment with three coral species. To estimate the natural frequency of encounters we assess the relationship between the proportion of encounters and this zoanthids coverage. The contact causes necrosis in 78% of coral colonies (6.47 ± SD 7.92 cm(2)) in 118 days. We found a logarithmic relationship between the proportion of these encounters and the cover of P. cf. variabilis, where 5.5% coverage of this zoanthid is enough to put 50% of coral colonies in contact, increasing their partial mortality. We demonstrate that zoanthid coverage increase followed by coral mortality increase will reduce coral cover and that competition drives the phase shift process.

  7. 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

  8. 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).

  9. Current rectification in a tropical coral reef system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salas-Monreal, D.; Salas-de-León, D. A.; Monreal-Gómez, M. A.; Riverón-Enzástiga, M. L.

    2009-12-01

    Acoustic Doppler current profiles (ADCP) and conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) profiles were recorded in the Veracruz Reef System (VRS) to elucidate the effect of topography on current circulation and zooplankton distribution. Measurements showed the baroclinic behavior of the tropical coral reef system with vertical temperature and salinity gradients of 0.4°C m-1 and 0.5 psu m-1, respectively. Under sustained southerly wind conditions, a cyclonic eddy generated by subtidal and tidal current rectification was observed between the two groups of coral colonies studied. Current rectification was attributed to the shallowness of the coral colonies and to a small cape close to Anton Lizardo Village. The cyclonic eddy, with low surface temperature, produced an increment in the vertically integrated acoustic scattering volume (biovolume), suggesting that this is a high-productivity area.

  10. Regulation and control of intracellular algae (= zooxanthellae) in hard corals

    PubMed Central

    Jones, R. J.; Yellowlees, D.

    1997-01-01

    To examine algal (= zooxanthellae) regulation and control, and the factors determining algal densities in hard corals, the zooxanthellae mitotic index and release rates were regularly determined in branch tips from a colony of a staghorn coral, Acropora formosa, recovering from a coral 'bleaching' event (the stress-related dissociation of the coral–algal symbiosis). Mathematical models based upon density-dependent decreases in the algal division frequency and increases in algal release rates during the post-bleaching recovery period accurately predict the observed recovery period (ca. 20 weeks). The models suggest that (i) the colony recovered its algal population from the division of the remaining zooxanthellae, and (ii) the continual loss of zooxanthellae significantly slowed the recovery of the coral. Possible reasons for the 'paradoxical' loss of healthy zooxanthellae from the bleached coral are discussed in terms of endodermal processes occurring in the recovering coral and the redistribution of newly formed zooxanthellae to aposymbiotic host cells. At a steady-state algal density of 2.1 x 106 zooxanthellae cm-2 at the end of the recovery period, the zooxanthellae would have to form a double layer of cells in the coral tissues, consistent with microscopic observations. Neighbouring colonies of A. formosa with inherently higher algal densities possess proportionately smaller zooxanthellae. Results suggest that space availability and the size of the algal symbionts determines the algal densities in the coral colonies. The large increases in the algal densities reported in corals exposed to elevated nutrient concentrations (i.e between a two- and five-fold increase in the algal standing stock) are not consistent with this theory. We suggest that increases of this magnitude are a product of the experimental conditions: reasons for this statement are discussed. We propose that the stability of the coral–algal symbiosis under non-stress conditions, and the

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. Highly Heterogeneous Bacterial Communities Associated with the South China Sea Reef Corals Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Coral harbor diverse and specific bacteria play significant roles in coral holobiont function. Bacteria associated with three of the common and phylogenetically divergent reef-building corals in the South China Sea, Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora, were investigated using 454 barcoded-pyrosequencing. Three colonies of each species were sampled, and 16S rRNA gene libraries were constructed individually. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities associated with the three coral species were more diverse than previous estimates based on corals from the Caribbean Sea, Indo-Pacific reefs and the Red Sea. Three candidate phyla, including BRC1, OD1 and SR1, were found for the first time in corals. Bacterial communities were separated into three groups: P. lutea and G. fascicular, A. millepora and seawater. P. lutea and G. fascicular displayed more similar bacterial communities, and bacterial communities associated with A. millepora differed from the other two coral species. The three coral species shared only 22 OTUs, which were distributed in Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and an unclassified bacterial group. The composition of bacterial communities within each colony of each coral species also showed variation. The relatively small common and large specific bacterial communities in these corals implies that bacterial associations may be structured by multiple factors at different scales and that corals may associate with microbes in terms of similar function, rather than identical species. PMID:23940737

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  16. The Amana Colonies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lilja, Marilyn

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-09-01

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

  18. [Disease in scleractinian corals: a new problem in the reef at Cayo Sombrero, Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela?].

    PubMed

    Cróquer, Aldo; Bone, David

    2003-06-01

    At the beginning of 1996 coral reefs in Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela, suffered an unprecedented mass mortality event. As a consequence, live coral cover dropped to 2-10%. One of the few reefs that kept live coral cover over 35% was Cayo Sombrero; nonetheless, the presence of some coral diseases has been detected within the past 2 years, representing a new source of coral mortality. Due to this situation, this study started a monitoring program on the incidence of coral diseases and syndromes in the reef of Cayo Sombrero. The CARICOMP protocol was used in order to evaluate reef health. Ten parallel band-transects (20 x 2m) where established at two depth intervals: Five between 3-8 m and five between 8-12 m, and the frequency of both, healthy and unhealthy colonies of each coral species was recorded along each band transect. In addition to other sources of coral damage (predation, siltation, etc), significant differences in disease incidence between the two depths intervals were tested with a Kruskall-Wallis test. The main problems observed were coral diseases such as yellow band (4.2%), dark spots (1.61%) and white plague-II (1.4%), mainly affecting Montastraea faveolata, M. annularis and Siderastrea siderea. Siltation, affecting massive colonies, such as Colpophyllia natans and Diploria strigosa; algae overgrowth, predation, anchor damage, and bleaching. Significant differences were found in the incidence of unhealthy (Kruskall-Wallis, p < 0.05) bleached (Kruskall-Wallis, p < 0.05) and colonies affected by siltation (Kruskall-Wallis, p < 0.05). More than 60% of the 585 coral colonies surveyed at both depths were found to be healthy, indicating that the Cayo Sombrero reef is still in good conditions compared to other localities in the Park. This study stresses the need to conduct early monitoring programs that survey coral disease incidence as a source of mortality for this coral reef.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-11

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Shared Skeletal Support in a Coral-Hydroid Symbiosis

    PubMed Central

    Pantos, Olga; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-08-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business-as-usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality, and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove-shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. Over 30 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR) from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies were living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies were bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies were bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeneity, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

    Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world's reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under "business as usual" climate scenarios. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Increasing carbon dioxide reduces seawater pH, slows coral growth, and may cause loss of reef structure. Management strategies include establishment of marine protected areas with environmental conditions that promote reef resiliency. However, few resilient reefs have been identified, and resiliency factors are poorly defined. Here we characterize the first natural, non-reef, coral refuge from thermal stress and ocean acidification and identify resiliency factors for mangrove-coral habitats. We measured diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and seawater chemistry; characterized substrate parameters; and examined water circulation patterns in mangrove communities where scleractinian corals are growing attached to and under mangrove prop roots in Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Additionally, we inventoried the coral species and quantified incidences of coral bleaching, mortality and recovery for two major reef-building corals, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria labyrinthiformis, growing in mangrove shaded and exposed (unshaded) areas. At least 33 species of scleractinian corals were growing in association with mangroves. Corals were thriving in low-light (more than 70% attenuation of incident PAR) from mangrove shading and at higher temperatures than nearby reef tract corals. A higher percentage of C. natans colonies was living shaded by mangroves, and no shaded colonies bleached. Fewer D. labyrinthiformis colonies were shaded by mangroves, however more unshaded colonies bleached. A combination of substrate and habitat heterogeniety, proximity of different habitat types, hydrographic

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  11. Cytotoxic tetraprenylated alkaloids from the South China Sea gorgonian Euplexaura robusta.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jin-Rong; Li, Ping-Lin; Tang, Xu-Li; Qi, Xin; Li, Guo-Qiang

    2012-10-01

    Nine achiral tetraprenylated alkaloids, including three new compounds, named malonganenones I-K (1-3, resp.), together with six known analogs, 4-9, were isolated from the gorgonian Euplexaura robusta collected from Weizhou Island of Guangxi Province, China. The structures of compounds 1-3 were elucidated by extensive spectral analyses, especially of their 1D- and 2D-NMR data. Compounds 1, 4, 6, and 7 showed moderate cytotoxicities against K562 and HeLa tumor cell lines with IC(50) values ranging from 0.35 to 10.82 μM. Compound 6 also showed moderate inhibitory activity against c-Met kinase at a concentration of 10 μM.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. Cytotoxic 9,11-secosteroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Gang; Tang, Xuli; Cheng, Canling; Gong, Kaikai; Zhang, Xingwang; Zhu, Hongyan; Wu, Rongcui; Li, Pinglin; Li, Guoqiang

    2013-09-01

    Ten new 9,11-secosteroids, subergorgols A-J (1-10), including two pairs of epimers (3/4, and 6/7), along with three known analogues (11-13) were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. The structures of these compounds were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analyses and comparison with the literature data. The cytotoxicities in vitro against three selected human tumor cell lines for all the compounds were evaluated. Compound 9 showed significant cytotoxicities toward both K562 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines with IC50 values of 5.5 and 6.2μM, respectively, and compound 10 also showed inhibitory activity against K562 cell line with an IC50 value of 6.5μM.

  14. Subergorgiaols A-L, 9,10-secosteroids from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia rubra.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xue-Ping; Cao, Fei; Shao, Chang-Lun; Chen, Min; Liu, Hai-Juan; Zheng, Cai-Juan; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2015-02-01

    Twelve new 9,10-secosteroids designated as subergorgiaols A-L (1-12), along with four known analogues (13-16), were isolated from the gorgonian Subergorgia rubra collected from the South China Sea. Their planar structures and the relative configurations were elucidated by comprehensive spectroscopic methods including NOESY spectra. The absolute configuration of 1 was established by a dimolybdenum tetraacetate [Mo2(AcO)4] induced circular dichroism (ICD) procedure and the modified Mosher's method. Compounds 1-12 represent the first series of 9,10-secosteroids characterized with a hydroxy group at C-8, which are 8-OH derivatives of astrogorgiadiols/calicoferols. Compound 4 exhibited cytotoxicity against the cervical carcinoma cell line (CaSki) with an IC50 value of 2.4 μM, and 6 showed toxicity toward brine shrimp Artemia salina with an LC50 value of 2.0 μM.

  15. Two new eunicellin diterpenoids from the South China Sea gorgonian Muricella sibogae and their bioactivities.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xing-Wang; Tang, Xu-Li; Yuan, Hong-Rui; Feng, Dan-Qing; Su, Pei; Li, Ping-Lin; Li, Guo-Qiang

    2015-01-01

    A systematic re-study on gorgonian Muricella sibogae from South China Sea yielded 10 eunicellin-based diterpenoids including two new ones, sibogins C and D (1 and 2). Their structures were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analyses (1D and 2D NMR, IR and MS) and by comparison with data reported in literatures. All the isolates were tested for cytotoxic and antifouling activities. Compounds 3 and 5 showed significant antifouling activity against the green mussel Perna viridis, and especially 3 was suggested as a potent low-toxic antifouling agent with a large LC50/EC50 value of 18.6. This was the first report on the antifouling activity of the eunicellin-type diterpenoids against the green mussel.

  16. Purine and pyrimidine derivatives from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shu-Hua; Zhang, Si; Gao, Cheng-Hai; Li, Qin-Xing

    2008-07-01

    Three new purine derivatives, namely, 4-caryboxy-5,6-dihydro-4H,8H-pyrimido[1,2,3-cd]purine-8,10(9H)-dione (1), 7,9-dihydro-1-(3-oxobutyl)-1H-purine-6,8-dione (2), and 7-hydro-9-(3-oxobutyl)-1H-purine-6,8-dione (3) together with six known purine and pyrimidine derivatives were isolated from the EtOH/CH(2)Cl(2) extracts of the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. The structures of 1-3 were determined on the bases of extensive spectroscopic analysis, including 1D and 2D NMR data.

  17. A novel cyclopentene derivative and a polyhydroxylated steroid from a South China Sea gorgonian Menella sp.

    PubMed

    Chai, Xing-Yun; Sun, Jian-Fan; Tang, Li-Ying; Yang, Xian-Wen; Li, Yun-Qiu; Huang, Hui; Zhou, Xue-Feng; Yang, Bin; Liu, Yonghong

    2010-10-01

    A chemical investigation on a South China Sea gorgonian, Menella sp. resulted in the isolation and elucidation of menellin A (1), a highly oxygenated racemate with C(8) skeleton, and a polyhydroxylated steroid, menellsteroid C (2), along with eight known compounds (3-10). The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by means of MS, 1D and 2D NMR spectra, and the relative stereochemistry of 1 was determined by X-ray single-crystal diffraction analysis. In addition, compound 7 was isolated as a new natural product. Compounds 1-3 and 7 were selected to test the anti-inflammatory inhibition against lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide (NO) production in RAW264.7 macrophages. 1 and 3 exhibited modest inhibitory effects with IC(50) of 71.3, 33.9 µM, respectively, compared to the positive control aminoguanidine (IC(50) 25.0 µM).

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

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Barbara E.; Putchim, Lalita

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Estimating the potential for adaptation of corals to climate warming.

    PubMed

    Császár, Nikolaus B M; Ralph, Peter J; Frankham, Richard; Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2010-03-18

    The persistence of tropical coral reefs is threatened by rapidly increasing climate warming, causing a functional breakdown of the obligate symbiosis between corals and their algal photosymbionts (Symbiodinium) through a process known as coral bleaching. Yet the potential of the coral-algal symbiosis to genetically adapt in an evolutionary sense to warming oceans is unknown. Using a quantitative genetics approach, we estimated the proportion of the variance in thermal tolerance traits that has a genetic basis (i.e. heritability) as a proxy for their adaptive potential in the widespread Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Acropora millepora. We chose two physiologically different populations that associate respectively with one thermo-tolerant (Symbiodinium clade D) and one less tolerant symbiont type (Symbiodinium C2). In both symbiont types, pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis revealed significant heritabilities for traits related to both photosynthesis and photoprotective pigment profile. However, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays showed a lack of heritability in both coral host populations for their own expression of fundamental stress genes. Coral colony growth, contributed to by both symbiotic partners, displayed heritability. High heritabilities for functional key traits of algal symbionts, along with their short clonal generation time and high population sizes allow for their rapid thermal adaptation. However, the low overall heritability of coral host traits, along with the corals' long generation time, raise concern about the timely adaptation of the coral-algal symbiosis in the face of continued rapid climate warming.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Steroids glycosylated with both D- and L-arabinoses from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Mei; Sun, Peng; Tang, Hua; Liu, Bao-Shu; Li, Tie-Jun; Li, Cui; Zhang, Wen

    2013-04-26

    Three new 19-hydroxy steroidal glycosides, namely, junceellosides E-G (2-4), were isolated together with the known analogue junceelloside C (1) from the South China Sea gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea. The structures of these compounds were elucidated by a combination of detailed spectroscopic analyses, chemical methods, and comparison with reported data. These glycosides are found to have sugar moieties of both β-l- and β-d-arabinopyranoses by HPLC analysis of their thiocarbamoyl-thiazolidine derivatives and those of authentic d- and l-arabinoses, leading to the structure revision of junceelloside C (1). This is the first report of steroidal glycosides from the gorgonian D. gemmacea and the first report of glycosides with β-l-arabinopyranose from marine sources.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Status and conservation of coral reefs in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Cortés, Jorge; Jiménez, Carlos E; Fonseca, Ana C; Alvarado, Juan José

    2010-05-01

    Costa Rica has coral communities and reefs on the Caribbean coast and on the Pacific along the coast and off-shore islands. The Southern section of the Caribbean coast has fringing and patch reefs, carbonate banks, and an incipient algal ridge. The Pacific coast has coral communities, reefs and isolated coral colonies. Coral reefs have been seriously impacted in the last 30 years, mainly by sediments (Caribbean coast and some Pacific reefs) and by El Niño warming events (both coasts). Monitoring is being carried out at three sites on each coast. Both coasts suffered significant reductions in live coral cover in the 1980's, but coral cover is now increasing in most sites. The government of Costa Rica is aware of the importance of coral reefs and marine environments in general, and in recent years decrees have been implemented (or are in the process of approval) to protect them, but limited resources endanger their proper management and conservation, including proper outreach to reef users and the general public.

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

    PubMed

    Miller, J; Rogers, C; Waara, R

    2003-06-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Miller, J; Rogers, C; Waara, R

    2003-06-01

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

  13. Population trends among Jamaican reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1981-11-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Reproductive ecology of Caribbean reef corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szmant, Alina M.

    1986-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto

    2010-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. DMSP in Corals and Benthic Algae from the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broadbent, A. D.; Jones, G. B.; Jones, R. J.

    2002-10-01

    In this study the first measurements of DMSP in six species of corals and ten species of benthic algae collected from four coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are reported, together with DMSP measurements made on cultured zooxanthellae. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 3831 (mean=743) fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 in corals, 0·16 to 2·96 nmol DMSP cm -2 (mean=90) for benthic macroalgae, and 48-285 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 (mean=153) for cultured zooxanthellae. The highest concentrations of DMSP in corals occurred in Acropora formosa (mean=371 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) and Acropora palifera (mean=3341 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) with concentrations in A. palifera the highest DMSP concentrations reported in corals examined to date. As well as inter-specific differences in DMSP, intra-specific variation was also observed. Adjacent colonies of A. formosa that are known to have different thermal bleaching thresholds and morphologically distinct zooxanthellae, were also observed to have different DMSP concentrations, with the zooxanthellae in the colony that bleached containing DMSP at an average concentration of 436 fmol zooxanthellae -1, whilst the non-bleaching colony contained DMSP at an average concentration of 171 fmol zooxanthellae -1. The results of the present study have been used to calculate the area normalized DMSP concentrations in benthic algae (mean=0·015 mmol m -2) and corals (mean=2·22 mmol m -2) from the GBR. This data indicates that benthic algae and corals are a significant reservoir of DMSP in GBR waters.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Sedimentation on the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa: cleaning efficiency from natural sediments and drill cuttings.

    PubMed

    Larsson, Ann I; Purser, Autun

    2011-06-01

    Anthropogenic threats to cold-water coral reefs are trawling and hydrocarbon drilling, with both activities causing increased levels of suspended particles. The efficiency of Lophelia pertusa in rejecting local sediments and drill cuttings from the coral surface was evaluated and found not to differ between sediment types. Further results showed that the coral efficiently removed deposited material even after repeated exposures, indicating an efficient cleaning mechanism. In an experiment focusing on burial, fine-fraction drill cuttings were deposited on corals over time. Drill cutting covered coral area increased with repeated depositions, with accumulation mainly occurring on and adjacent to regions of the coral skeleton lacking tissue cover. Tissue was smothered and polyp mortality occurred where polyps became wholly covered by material. Burial of coral by drill cuttings to the current threshold level used in environmental risk assessment models by the offshore industry (6.3mm) may result in damage to L. pertusa colonies.

  4. Sedimentation on the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa: cleaning efficiency from natural sediments and drill cuttings.

    PubMed

    Larsson, Ann I; Purser, Autun

    2011-06-01

    Anthropogenic threats to cold-water coral reefs are trawling and hydrocarbon drilling, with both activities causing increased levels of suspended particles. The efficiency of Lophelia pertusa in rejecting local sediments and drill cuttings from the coral surface was evaluated and found not to differ between sediment types. Further results showed that the coral efficiently removed deposited material even after repeated exposures, indicating an efficient cleaning mechanism. In an experiment focusing on burial, fine-fraction drill cuttings were deposited on corals over time. Drill cutting covered coral area increased with repeated depositions, with accumulation mainly occurring on and adjacent to regions of the coral skeleton lacking tissue cover. Tissue was smothered and polyp mortality occurred where polyps became wholly covered by material. Burial of coral by drill cuttings to the current threshold level used in environmental risk assessment models by the offshore industry (6.3mm) may result in damage to L. pertusa colonies. PMID:21529851

  5. 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...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lewis, John B

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yap, Helen T

    2004-08-01

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

  12. The coral immune response facilitates protection against microbes during tissue regeneration.

    PubMed

    van de Water, Jeroen A J M; Ainsworth, Tracy D; Leggat, William; Bourne, David G; Willis, Bette L; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2015-07-01

    Increasing physical damage on coral reefs from predation, storms and anthropogenic disturbances highlights the need to understand the impact of injury on the coral immune system. In this study, we examined the regulation of the coral immune response over 10 days following physical trauma artificially inflicted on in situ colonies of the coral Acropora aspera, simultaneously with bacterial colonization of the lesions. Corals responded to injury by increasing the expression of immune system-related genes involved in the Toll-like and NOD-like receptor signalling pathways and the lectin-complement system in three phases (<2, 4 and 10 days post-injury). Phenoloxidase activity was also significantly upregulated in two phases (<3 and 10 days post-injury), as were levels of non-fluorescent chromoprotein. In addition, green fluorescent protein expression was upregulated in response to injury from 4 days post-injury, while cyan fluorescent protein expression was reduced. No shifts in the composition of coral-associated bacterial communities were evident following injury based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing. Bacteria-specific fluorescence in situ hybridization also showed no evidence of bacterial colonization of the wound or regenerating tissues. Coral tissues showed near-complete regeneration of lesions within 10 days. This study demonstrates that corals exhibit immune responses that support rapid recovery following physical injury, maintain coral microbial homeostasis and prevent bacterial infestation that may compromise coral fitness.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-26

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-06-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Implications of coral harvest and transplantation on reefs in northwestern Dominica.

    PubMed

    Bruckner, Andrew W; Borneman, Eric H

    2010-10-01

    In June, 2002, the government of Dominica requested assistance in evaluating the coral culture and transplantation activities being undertaken by Oceanographic Institute of Dominica (OID), a coral farm culturing both western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific corals for restoration and commercial sales. We assessed the culture facilities of OID, the condition of reefs, potential impacts of coral collection and benefits of coral transplantation. Coral reefs (9 reefs, 3-20 m depth) were characterized by 35 species of scleractinian corals and a live coral cover of 8-35%. Early colonizing, brooders such as Porites astreoides (14.8% of all corals), P. porites (14.8%), Meandrina meandrites (14.7%) and Agaricia agaricites (9.1%) were the most abundant corals, but colonies were mostly small (mean = 25 cm diameter). Montastraea annularis (complex) was the other dominant taxa (20.8% of all corals) and colonies were larger (mean = 70 cm). Corals (pooled species) were missing an average of 20% of their tissue, with a mean of 1.4% recent mortality. Coral diseases affected 6.4% of all colonies, with the highest prevalence at Cabrits West (11.0%), Douglas Bay (12.2%) and Coconut Outer reef (20.7%). White plague and yellow band disease were causing the greatest loss of tissue, especially among M. annularis (complex), with localized impacts from corallivores, overgrowth by macroalgae, storm damage and sedimentation. While the reefs appeared to be undergoing substantial decline, restoration efforts by OlD were unlikely to promote recovery. No Pacific species were identified at OID restoration sites, yet species chosen for transplantation with highest survival included short-lived brooders (Agaricia and Porites) that were abundant in restoration sites, as well as non-reef builders (Palythoa and Erythropodium) that monopolize substrates and overgrow corals. The species of highest value for restoration (massive broadcast spawners) showed low survivorship and unrestored populations of these

  20. Implications of coral harvest and transplantation on reefs in northwestern Dominica.

    PubMed

    Bruckner, Andrew W; Borneman, Eric H

    2010-10-01

    In June, 2002, the government of Dominica requested assistance in evaluating the coral culture and transplantation activities being undertaken by Oceanographic Institute of Dominica (OID), a coral farm culturing both western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific corals for restoration and commercial sales. We assessed the culture facilities of OID, the condition of reefs, potential impacts of coral collection and benefits of coral transplantation. Coral reefs (9 reefs, 3-20 m depth) were characterized by 35 species of scleractinian corals and a live coral cover of 8-35%. Early colonizing, brooders such as Porites astreoides (14.8% of all corals), P. porites (14.8%), Meandrina meandrites (14.7%) and Agaricia agaricites (9.1%) were the most abundant corals, but colonies were mostly small (mean = 25 cm diameter). Montastraea annularis (complex) was the other dominant taxa (20.8% of all corals) and colonies were larger (mean = 70 cm). Corals (pooled species) were missing an average of 20% of their tissue, with a mean of 1.4% recent mortality. Coral diseases affected 6.4% of all colonies, with the highest prevalence at Cabrits West (11.0%), Douglas Bay (12.2%) and Coconut Outer reef (20.7%). White plague and yellow band disease were causing the greatest loss of tissue, especially among M. annularis (complex), with localized impacts from corallivores, overgrowth by macroalgae, storm damage and sedimentation. While the reefs appeared to be undergoing substantial decline, restoration efforts by OlD were unlikely to promote recovery. No Pacific species were identified at OID restoration sites, yet species chosen for transplantation with highest survival included short-lived brooders (Agaricia and Porites) that were abundant in restoration sites, as well as non-reef builders (Palythoa and Erythropodium) that monopolize substrates and overgrow corals. The species of highest value for restoration (massive broadcast spawners) showed low survivorship and unrestored populations of these

  1. Switch between Morphospecies of Pocillopora Corals.

    PubMed

    Paz-García, David A; Hellberg, Michael E; García-de-León, Francisco J; Balart, Eduardo F

    2015-09-01

    Pocillopora corals are the main reef builders in the eastern tropical Pacific. The validity of Pocillopora morphospecies remains under debate because of disagreements between morphological and genetic data. To evaluate the temporal stability of morphospecies in situ, we monitored the shapes of individual colonies in three communities in the southern Gulf of California for 44 months. Twenty-three percent of tagged colonies of Pocillopora damicornis changed to Pocillopora inflata morphology during this time. This switch in identity coincided with a shift to a higher frequency of storms and lower water turbidity (i.e., lower chlorophyll a levels). Seven months after the switch, P. inflata colonies were recovering their original P. damicornis morphology. All colonies of both morphospecies shared a common mitochondrial identity, but most P. damicornis colonies undergoing change were at a site with low-flow conditions. This is the first in situ study to document switching between described morphospecies, and it elucidates the influence of temporal shifts in environmental conditions on morphologically plastic responses.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  4. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. Changes in coral-associated microbial communities during a bleaching event.

    PubMed

    Bourne, David; Iida, Yuki; Uthicke, Sven; Smith-Keune, Carolyn

    2008-04-01

    Environmental stressors such as increased sea surface temperatures are well-known for contributing to coral bleaching; however, the effect of increased temperatures and subsequent bleaching on coral-associated microbial communities is poorly understood. Colonies of the hard coral Acropora millepora were tagged on a reef flat off Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef) and surveyed over 2.5 years, which included a severe bleaching event in January/February 2002. Daily average water temperatures exceeded the previous 10-year average by more than 1 degrees C for extended periods with field-based visual surveys recording all tagged colonies displaying signs of bleaching. During the bleaching period, direct counts of coral zooxanthellae densities decreased by approximately 64%, before recovery to pre-bleaching levels after the thermal stress event. A subset of three tagged coral colonies were sampled through the bleaching event and changes in the microbial community elucidated. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis demonstrated conserved bacterial banding profiles between the three coral colonies, confirming previous studies highlighting specific microbial associations. As coral colonies bleached, the microbial community shifted and redundancy analysis (RDA) of DGGE banding patterns revealed a correlation of increasing temperature with the appearance of Vibrio-affiliated sequences. Interestingly, this shift to a Vibrio-dominated community commenced prior to visual signs of bleaching. Clone libraries hybridized with Vibrio-specific oligonucleotide probes confirmed an increase in the fraction of Vibrio-affiliated clones during the bleaching period. Post bleaching, the coral microbial associations again shifted, returning to a profile similar to the fingerprints prior to bleaching. This provided further evidence for corals selecting and shaping their microbial partners. For non-bleached samples, a close association with Spongiobacter-related sequences were

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-31

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-31

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, V.; Ward, G.

    2008-01-01

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

  15. U.S. coral reefs; imperiled national treasures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Field, M.E.; Cochran, S.A.; Evans, K.R.

    2002-01-01

    Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species. However, the tiny colonial animals that build these intricate limestone masses are dying at alarming rates. If this trend continues, in 20 years the living corals on many of the world's reefs will be dead and the ecosystems that depend on them severely damaged. As part of the effort to protect our Nation's extensive reefs, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are working to better understand the processes that affect the health of these ecologically and economically important ecosystems.

  16. A study on the recovery of Tobago's coral reefs following the 2010 mass bleaching event.

    PubMed

    Buglass, Salome; Donner, Simon D; Alemu I, Jahson B

    2016-03-15

    In 2010, severe coral bleaching was observed across the southeastern Caribbean, including the island of Tobago, where coral reefs are subject to sedimentation and high nutrient levels from terrestrial runoff. Here we examine changes in corals' colony size distributions over time (2010-2013), juvenile abundances and sedimentation rates for sites across Tobago following the 2010 bleaching event. The results indicated that since pre-bleaching coral cover was already low due to local factors and past disturbance, the 2010 event affected only particular susceptible species' population size structure and increased the proportion of small sized colonies. The low density of juveniles (mean of 5.4±6.3 juveniles/m(-2)) suggests that Tobago's reefs already experienced limited recruitment, especially of large broadcasting species. The juvenile distribution and the response of individual species to the bleaching event support the notion that Caribbean reefs are becoming dominated by weedy non-framework building taxa which are more resilient to disturbances.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Deslarzes, K.J.P.

    1992-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tchernov, D.; Fine, M.

    2007-12-01

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

  1. Janibacter alkaliphilus sp. nov., isolated from coral Anthogorgia sp.

    PubMed

    Li, Jie; Long, Li-Juan; Yang, Ling-Ling; Xu, Ying; Wang, Fa-Zuo; Li, Qing-Xin; Zhang, Si; Li, Wen-Jun

    2012-06-01

    A novel actinobacterium, designated strain SCSIO 10480(T), was isolated from a gorgonian coral sample of Anthogorgia sp. Phylogenetic and phenotypic properties of the organism supported that it belonged to the genus Janibacter. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the levels of 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity between strain SCSIO 10480(T) and other type strains of recognized members of the genus Janibacter were 96.0-97.8 %. Growth in the presence of up to 17 % (w/v) NaCl and optimally at pH 9.0-10.0 was a distinctive characteristic of strain SCSIO 10480(T). Other biochemical and physiological properties and the fatty acid profile also differentiated the isolate from other members of Janibacter species. Based on the results obtained in this study, we propose that strain SCSIO 10480(T) should be classified within a novel species of the genus Janibacter, for which the name Janibacter alkaliphilus sp. nov. is proposed, with SCSIO 10480(T) (=CCTCC AB 2011027(T) = DSM 24723(T)) as the type strain.

  2. 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.

  3. Temporal consistency in background mortality of four dominant coral taxa along Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pisapia, C.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on the population and community dynamics of scleractinian corals typically focus on catastrophic mortality associated with acute disturbances (e.g., coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish), though corals are subject to high levels of background mortality and injuries caused by routine and chronic processes. This study quantified prevalence (proportion of colonies with injuries) and severity (areal extent of injuries on individual colonies) of background mortality and injuries for four common coral taxa (massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and branching Pocillopora) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Sampling was conducted over three consecutive years during which there were no major acute disturbances. A total of 2276 adult colonies were surveyed across 27 sites, within nine reefs and three distinct latitudinal sectors. The prevalence of injuries was very high (>83%) across all four taxa, but highest for Porites (91%) and Montipora (85%). For these taxa ( Montipora and Pocillopora), there was also significant temporal and spatial variation in prevalence of partial mortality. The severity of injuries ranged from 3% to more than 80% and varied among coral taxa, but was fairly constant spatially and temporally. This shows that some injuries have considerable longevity and that corals may invest relatively little in regenerating tissue over sites of previous injuries. Inter-colony variation in the severity of injury also had no apparent effect on the realized growth of individual colonies, suggesting that energy diverted to regeneration has a limited bearing on overall energetic allocation, or impacts on other life-history processes (e.g., reproduction) rather than growth. Establishing background levels of injury and regeneration is important for understanding energy investment and life-history consequences for reef-building corals as well as for predicting susceptibility to, and capacity to recover from, acute

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Spherical growth in the Caribbean coral Siderastrea radians (Pallas) and its survival in disturbed habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, John B.

    1989-01-01

    Siderastrea radians (Pallas) is a common West Indian reef coral that displays wide morphological variation. The hypothesis that a spherical form of free living colonies of S. radians has advantages for survival was examined in Barbados. Colonies were sampled from tide pools and from random quadrats at four reef flat sites subjected to strong wave action. Survival was found to be a positive function of colony size measured as living surface area and was correlated with stage of development toward a spherical shape. The combination of spherical shape and larger size confer a selective advantage on free living colonies in disturbed habitats.

  8. Composition and ecology of deep-water coral associations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kühlmann, D. H. H.

    1983-06-01

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

  9. Nutrient enrichment enhances black band disease progression in corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voss, Joshua D.; Richardson, Laurie L.

    2006-11-01

    Infectious diseases are recognized as significant contributors to the dramatic loss of corals observed worldwide. However, the causes of increased coral disease prevalence and severity are not well understood. One potential factor is elevated nutrient concentration related to localized anthropogenic activities such as inadequate waste water treatment or terrestrial runoff. In this study the effect of nutrient enrichment on the progression of black band disease (BBD) was investigated using both in situ and laboratory experiments. Experimental increases in localized nutrient availability using commercial time release fertilizer in situ resulted in doubling of BBD progression and coral tissue loss in the common reef framework coral Siderastrea siderea. Laboratory experiments in which artificially infected S. siderea colonies were exposed to increased nitrate concentrations (up to 3 μM) demonstrated similar increases in BBD progression. These findings provide evidence that the impacts of this disease on coral populations are exacerbated by nutrient enrichment and that management to curtail excess nutrient loading may be important for reducing coral cover loss due to BBD.

  10. 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.

  11. Skeletal isotope records of growth perturbations in Porites corals during the 1997-1998 mass bleaching event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, A.; Gagan, M.; Fabricius, K.; Isdale, P.; Yukino, I.; Kawahata, H.

    2003-04-01

    Severe coral bleaching occurred throughout the tropics in 1997/98. We report skeletal UV fluorescence, oxygen isotope, and carbon isotope evidence for perturbations in coral skeletal growth due to bleaching at Ishigaki Island, Japan, and Pandora Reef, Great Barrier Reef. Bleached corals showed abrupt reductions in skeletal extension rate immediately after summer temperature maxima, indicating that bleaching inhibits coral calcification. A colony growing at the low tide line in Ishigaki exhibited clear blue UV fluorescent bands associated with recurrent growth interruptions. Based on the length of time-gaps observed in the annual isotopic cycle, the typical time required for a coral to recover from bleaching is estimated to be about 5--6 months. The effect of bleaching on the oxygen isotope ratio -- temperature relationship was negligible. However, the Ishigaki corals showed lower carbon isotope ratios during bleaching indicating depressed coral metabolism associated with a reduction in calcification. In contrast, skeletal carbon isotope ratios in the Pandora Reef corals exhibited little change in response to bleaching. This is because the records for Pandora Reef were derived from the shaded sides of coral colonies, where algal photosynthesis was particularly slow prior to bleaching, thus subduing the carbon isotope response to bleaching. Taken together, the isotopic and UV fluorescence signals can be used to reconstruct past bleaching events.

  12. Ecological variables, including physiognomic-structural attributes, and classification of Indonesian coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bak, R. P. M.; Povel, G. D. E.

    Communities are distinguished by biological and physical features, such as size and shape of organisms and dead substrata, which are characteristic expressions of the organizing forces in the community. We measured 87 of such features in 39 transects on seaward-facing reef slopes in the eastern Indonesian archipelago, but did not identify coral species. We aimed to identify the basic variables that are indispensable to classify coral reef communities. This would give ecological information on variation in reef communities and show exactly which data must be recorded in the field. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the data matrix showed the following variables to be important in the ordination of transects along the axes: coral colony shape, loose fragments, bare bottom, coral tissue wounds, rubble, sediment/rubble, crustose coralline algae, excavating sponge, miscellaneous organisms, coral overgrowth, interaction coral/non-coral, Acanthaster, maximum size coral colonies, tabular Acropora, massive Porites, fungiids, angle slope, and crevices. We used the transect data to define four groups of environmental conditions: 'sheltered', 'exposed' (to water movement), 'biologically disturbed' and 'physically disturbed'. Discriminant Analysis was employed to classify additional transects. It appeared that a minimum of 9 variables has to be measured in the field (rubble, thick branching corals, fungiids, sediment/rubble, two largest-colonies diameters, massive Porites, angle slope, Acanthaster) to assign transects to one of those groups (P < 0.10). With just 14 variables the classification of transects was 100% correct. Two additional groups of environmental conditions are recognizable with, respectively, prominence of competitive interactions and Acanthaster predation. There were too few transect data to characterize these groups satisfactorily for Discriminant Analysis.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Bioactive 9,11-secosteroids from Gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa collected from the South China sea.

    PubMed

    Liu, Min; Shao, Chang-Lun; Chen, Min; Qi, Jun; Wang, Yu; Fang, Yu-Chun; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2014-07-01

    Five new 9,11-secosteroids 1, 2, and 4-6, and seven known analogs, 3 and 7-12, with the same steroid skeleton, (5αH)-3β,6α,11-trihydroxy-9,11-secocholest-7-en-9-one, were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Subergorgia suberosa. Among them, 2/3 and 4/5 are C(24)-epimeric mixtures, and 6/7 is an (E)/(Z) mixture of (C(24)C(28)). Their structures and relative configurations were elucidated by using comprehensive spectroscopic methods including NOESY spectra. The absolute configuration of the steroidal nucleus was established by the modified Mosher method applied to 10 and on the basis of a common biogenesis for all of these compounds. All isolated compounds, 1-12, and five synthetic acetylated derivatives, 12a-12e, were evaluated for their cytotoxicities in vitro. Compounds 4/5, 11, 12, and 12b-12d showed cytotoxic activities against K562 cell line with the IC50 values ranging from 1.09 to 8.12 μM.

  15. Characteristic Steroids from the South China Sea Gorgonian Muricella sibogae and Their Cytotoxicities.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xing-Wang; Tang, Xu-Li; Liu, Bao-Sheng; Li, Ping-Lin; Li, Guo-Qiang

    2016-02-01

    Twenty-four steroid-based natural products, 9,10-secosteroids (1-10), 1,4-dien-3-one steroids (11-19), and 4-en-3-one steroids (20-24), containing varying side-chains, were isolated from the South China Sea gorgonian Muricella sibogae. The structures of one new 9,10-secosteroid, sibogol D (1), and two new 1,4-dien-3-one steroids, sibogols E and F (11 and 12), were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analyses and by comparison with the literature data. Cytotoxicities for all the isolates were evaluated against four selected tumor cell lines, HL-60, HCT116, K562, and P388. Compounds 3, 9, and 13 exhibited potent cytotoxic activities against the HL-60 cell line, with IC50 values ranging from 1.27 to 10.05 μM, and compound 3 was also cytotoxic against HCT116 with an IC50 value of 5.8 μM. The bioassay results also indicated a potential relationship between structural patterns and activity. The newly presented series of 1,4-dien-3-one and 4-en-3-one types of steroids relating to the unique 9,10-secosteroids in biogenesis were found in this species for the first time, which is of considerable chemotaxonomic significance.

  16. Potent antifouling resorcylic acid lactones from the gorgonian-derived fungus Cochliobolus lunatus.

    PubMed

    Shao, Chang-Lun; Wu, Hui-Xian; Wang, Chang-Yun; Liu, Qing-Ai; Xu, Ying; Wei, Mei-Yan; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Gu, Yu-Cheng; Zheng, Cai-Juan; She, Zhi-Gang; Lin, Yong-Cheng

    2011-04-25

    Three new 14-membered resorcylic acid lactones, two with a rare natural acetonide group and one with a 5-chloro-substituted lactone, named cochliomycins A-C (1-3), together with four known analogues, zeaenol (4), LL-Z1640-1 (5), LL-Z1640-2 (6), and paecilomycin F (7), were isolated from the culture broth of Cochliobolus lunatus, a fungus obtained from the gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea collected in the South China Sea. Their structures and the relative configurations of 1-3 were elucidated using comprehensive spectroscopic methods including NOESY spectra and chemical conversions. A transetherification reaction was also observed in which cochliomycin B (2) in a solution of CDCl(3) slowly rearranged to give cochliomycin A (1) at room temperature. These resorcylic acid lactones were evaluated against the larval settlement of barnacle Balanus amphitrite, and antifouling activity was detected for the first time for this class of metabolites. The antibacterial and cytotoxic activities of these compounds were also examined.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prasetia, Rian; Sinniger, Frederic; Harii, Saki

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bachok, Zainudin; Mfilinge, Prosper; Tsuchiya, Makoto

    2006-11-01

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

  1. The presence of biomarker enzymes of selected Scleractinian corals of Palk Bay, southeast coast of India.

    PubMed

    Anithajothi, R; Duraikannu, K; Umagowsalya, G; Ramakritinan, C M

    2014-01-01

    The health and existence of coral reefs are in danger by an increasing range of environmental and anthropogenic impacts. The causes of coral reef decline include worldwide climate change, shoreline development, habitat destruction, pollution, sedimentation and overexploitation. These disasters have contributed to an estimated loss of 27% of the reefs. If the current pressure continues unabated, the estimated loss of coral reef will be about 60% by the year 2030. Therefore, the present study was aimed to analyze the enzymes involved in stress induced by coral pathogen and its resistance. We focused on the enzymes involved in melanin synthesis pathway (phenoloxidase (PO) and peroxidases (POD)) and free radical scavenging enzymes (super oxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT)) and glutathione peroxidase (Gpx) in selected scleractinian corals such as Acropora formosa, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia favus, Favites halicora, Porites sp., and Anacropora forbesi. Overall, PO activity of coral was significantly lower than that of zooxanthellae except for Favia favus. Coral colonies with lower PO and POD activities are prone to disease. Maximum antioxidant defensive enzymes were observed in Favia favus followed by Echinopora lamellose. It is concluded that assay of these enzymes can be used as biomarkers for identifying the susceptibility of corals towards coral bleaching induced by pathogen.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  4. 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…

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. High spatial variability in coral bleaching around Moorea (French Polynesia): patterns across locations and water depths.

    PubMed

    Penin, Lucie; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Schrimm, Muriel; Lenihan, Hunter Stanton

    2007-02-01

    Mass coral bleaching events are one of the main threats to coral reefs. A severe bleaching event impacted Moorea, French Polynesia, between March and July 2002, causing 55+/-14% of colonies to suffer bleaching around the island. However, bleaching varied significantly across coral genera, locations, and as a function of water depth, with a bleaching level as high as 72% at some stations. Corals in deeper water bleached at a higher rate than those in shallow water, and the north coast was more impacted than the west coast. The relatively small scale of variability in bleaching responses probably resulted from the interaction between extrinsic factors, including hydrodynamic condition, and intrinsic factors, such as differential adaptation of the coral/algal association.

  7. Water contamination reduces the tolerance of coral larvae to thermal stress.

    PubMed

    Negri, Andrew P; Hoogenboom, Mia O

    2011-05-11

    Coral reefs are highly susceptible to climate change, with elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) posing one of the main threats to coral survival. Successful recruitment of new colonies is important for the recovery of degraded reefs following mortality events. Coral larvae require relatively uncontaminated substratum on which to metamorphose into sessile polyps, and the increasing pollution of coastal waters therefore constitutes an additional threat to reef resilience. Here we develop and analyse a model of larval metamorphosis success for two common coral species to quantify the interactive effects of water pollution (copper contamination) and SST. We identify thresholds of temperature and pollution that prevent larval metamorphosis, and evaluate synergistic interactions between these stressors. Our analyses show that halving the concentration of Cu can protect corals from the negative effects of a 2-3°C increase in SST. These results demonstrate that effective mitigation of local impacts can reduce negative effects of global stressors.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-06

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Coral communities of the deep Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cordes, Erik E.; McGinley, Michael P.; Podowski, Elizabeth L.; Becker, Erin L.; Lessard-Pilon, Stephanie; Viada, Stephen T.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2008-06-01

    Habitat formation by foundation species is a major ecological force affecting community structure in numerous systems. On the upper continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico, the cold-water scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa creates complex habitat on cold seep-associated carbonates. In this study, the communities associated with the cold-water coral L. pertusa are described from the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. A total of 68 taxa was identified in close association with the coral framework. Three species with specific relationships to L. pertusa were identified: Eunice sp., a polychaete which may facilitate colony formation in L. pertusa; Coralliophila sp., a species of corallivorous gastropod ; and Stenopus sp., a decapod crustacean which may act in a cleaner shrimp role in these habitats. Similarity among coral-associated communities was best explained by similarity in depth of collection and the proportion of live coral in the collections. These variables were somewhat confounded with location as the sites to the east were both shallower and contained higher proportions of live coral; however, distance between collections per se was not as significant in the analyses. The coral-associated communities also showed a low degree of similarity to communities inhabiting vestimentiferan tubeworm aggregations that occur nearby at the same sites. The increased habitat heterogeneity in the coral structure, differences in the niches constructed by the two foundation species, and different direct interspecific interactions between foundation species and members of the associated community contributed to the presence of dissimilar communities in these two biogenic habitats.

  13. Molecular reproductive characteristics of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Goodman, G.D. )

    1990-01-09

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    van Woesik, Robert; van Woesik, Kelly; van Woesik