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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. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Disturbance to conserved bacterial communities in the cold-water gorgonian coral Eunicella verrucosa.

    PubMed

    Ransome, Emma; Rowley, Sonia J; Thomas, Simon; Tait, Karen; Munn, Colin B

    2014-11-01

    The bacterial communities associated with healthy and diseased colonies of the cold-water gorgonian coral Eunicella verrucosa at three sites off the south-west coast of England were compared using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and clone libraries. Significant differences in community structure between healthy and diseased samples were discovered, as were differences in the level of disturbance to these communities at each site; this correlated with depth and sediment load. The majority of cloned sequences from healthy coral tissue affiliated with the Gammaproteobacteria. The stability of the bacterial community and dominance of specific genera found across visibly healthy colonies suggest the presence of a specific microbial community. Affiliations included a high proportion of Endozoicomonas sequences, which were most similar to sequences found in tropical corals. This genus has been found in a number of invertebrates and is suggested to have a role in coral health and in the metabolisation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) produced by zooxanthellae. However, screening of colonies for the presence of zooxanthellae produced a negative result. Diseased colonies showed a decrease in affiliated clones and an increase in clones related to potentially harmful/transient microorganisms but no increase in a particular pathogen. This study demonstrates that a better understanding of these bacterial communities, the factors that affect them and their role in coral health and disease will be of critical importance in predicting future threats to temperate gorgonian communities. © 2014 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Natural Product Chemistry of Gorgonian Corals of Genus Junceella—Part II

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    The structures, names, bioactivities, and references of 81 new secondary metabolites obtained from gorgonian corals belonging to the genus Junceella are described in this review. All compounds mentioned in this review were obtained from sea whip gorgonian corals Junceella fragilis and Junceella juncea, collected from the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. PMID:22363249

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. The effects of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean gorgonian corals and their algal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp.

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

    Global climate change not only leads to elevated seawater temperatures but also to episodic anomalously high or low temperatures lasting for several hours to days. Scleractinian corals are detrimentally affected by thermal fluctuations, which often lead to an uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium spp. (coral bleaching) and potentially coral death. Consequently, on many Caribbean reefs scleractinian coral cover has plummeted. Conversely, gorgonian corals persist, with their abundance even increasing. How gorgonians react to thermal anomalies has been investigated utilizing limited parameters of either the gorgonian, Symbiodinium or the combined symbiosis (holobiont). We employed a holistic approach to examine the effect of an experimental five-day elevated temperature episode on parameters of the host, symbiont, and the holobiont in Eunicea tourneforti, E. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa. These gorgonian corals reacted and coped with 32°C seawater temperatures. Neither Symbiodinium genotypes nor densities differed between the ambient 29.5°C and 32°C. Chlorophyll a and c2 per Symbiodinium cell, however, were lower at 32°C leading to a reduction in chlorophyll content in the branches and an associated reduction in estimated absorbance and increase in the chlorophyll a specific absorption coefficient. The adjustments in the photochemical parameters led to changes in photochemical efficiencies, although these too showed that the gorgonians were coping. For example, the maximum excitation pressure, Qm, was significantly lower at 32°C than at 29.5°C. In addition, although per dry weight the amount of protein and lipids were lower at 32°C, the overall energy content in the tissues did not differ between the temperatures. Antioxidant activity either remained the same or increased following exposure to 32°C further reiterating a response that dealt with the stressor. Taken together, the capability of Caribbean gorgonian corals to modify symbiont, host

  12. The effects of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean gorgonian corals and their algal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp.

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

    Global climate change not only leads to elevated seawater temperatures but also to episodic anomalously high or low temperatures lasting for several hours to days. Scleractinian corals are detrimentally affected by thermal fluctuations, which often lead to an uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium spp. (coral bleaching) and potentially coral death. Consequently, on many Caribbean reefs scleractinian coral cover has plummeted. Conversely, gorgonian corals persist, with their abundance even increasing. How gorgonians react to thermal anomalies has been investigated utilizing limited parameters of either the gorgonian, Symbiodinium or the combined symbiosis (holobiont). We employed a holistic approach to examine the effect of an experimental five-day elevated temperature episode on parameters of the host, symbiont, and the holobiont in Eunicea tourneforti, E. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa. These gorgonian corals reacted and coped with 32°C seawater temperatures. Neither Symbiodinium genotypes nor densities differed between the ambient 29.5°C and 32°C. Chlorophyll a and c2 per Symbiodinium cell, however, were lower at 32°C leading to a reduction in chlorophyll content in the branches and an associated reduction in estimated absorbance and increase in the chlorophyll a specific absorption coefficient. The adjustments in the photochemical parameters led to changes in photochemical efficiencies, although these too showed that the gorgonians were coping. For example, the maximum excitation pressure, Qm, was significantly lower at 32°C than at 29.5°C. In addition, although per dry weight the amount of protein and lipids were lower at 32°C, the overall energy content in the tissues did not differ between the temperatures. Antioxidant activity either remained the same or increased following exposure to 32°C further reiterating a response that dealt with the stressor. Taken together, the capability of Caribbean gorgonian corals to modify symbiont, host

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Microsatellite variation reveals high levels of genetic variability and population structure in the gorgonian coral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae across the Bahamas.

    PubMed

    Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Carla; Lasker, Howard R

    2004-08-01

    The primary mechanism of gene flow in marine sessile invertebrates is larval dispersal. In Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae, a commercially important Caribbean gorgonian coral, a proportion of the larvae drop to the substratum within close proximity to the maternal colony, and most matings occur between individuals in close proximity to each other. Such limited dispersal of reproductive propagules suggests that gene flow is limited in this gorgonian. In this study, we characterized the population genetic structure of P. elisabethae across the Bahamas using six microsatellite loci. P. elisabethae was collected from 18 sites across the Bahamas. Significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium due to deficits of heterozygotes within populations were detected for all 18 populations in at least one of the six screened loci. Levels of genetic structure among populations of P. elisabethae were high and significant. A distance analysis placed populations within three groups, one formed by populations located within Exuma Sound, a semi-isolated basin, another consisting of populations located outside the basin and a third group comprising two populations from San Salvador Island. The patterns of genetic variation found in this study are concordant with the life-history traits of the species and in part with the geography of the Bahamas. Conservation and management plans developed for P. elisabethae should considered the high degree of genetic structure observed among populations of the species, as well as the high genetic diversity found in the San Salvador and the Exuma Sound populations. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

  17. Element concentrations in cold-water gorgonians and black coral from Azores region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raimundo, Joana; Vale, Carlos; Caetano, Miguel; Anes, Bárbara; Carreiro-Silva, Marina; Martins, Inês; Matos, Valentina de; Porteiro, Filipe M.

    2013-12-01

    Seamounts are thought to support high biodiversity and special biological communities, including corals. Corals incorporate minor and trace elements and have been suggested as possible bioindicators of their availability in the environment. Forty specimens of five gorgonian species (Alcyonacea) and a black coral (Antipatharia) were collected in 12 sites in the Azores region. Concentrations of Ca, Mg, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Se, Cd and Pb were determined in skeleton and attached tissue of each individual from each species. Leiopathes sp. had higher Cr, Ni, Se and Pb concentrations than the gorgonians. Enhanced Cu and Cd values were registered in Leiopathes and Acanthogorgia hirsuta. Specimens of A. hirsuta also presented elevated concentrations of Zn and Co. Linear relationships between Cd and Cu, Zn and Se point to response mechanisms in corals, possibly related to the induction of proteins enlarging the capacity to incorporate further quantities of essential elements. Results obtained in this study suggest the existence of an additional source of Cd in waters off Azores Islands associated with natural hydrothermal activities.

  18. Nitrogen isotopic records of terrestrial pollution encoded in Floridian and Bahamian gorgonian corals.

    PubMed

    Sherwood, Owen A; Lapointe, Brian E; Risk, Michael J; Jamieson, Robyn E

    2010-02-01

    Stable nitrogen isotope (delta(15)N) analysis has proven an effective "fingerprint" of sewage contamination in coral reef environments; however, short-term variability in nitrogen cycling and isotopic fractionation may obscure long-term trends. Here, we examine delta(15)N signatures in the organic endoskeletons of long-lived (20-40 years) gorgonian corals. Specimens were collected from relatively pristine reefs off Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, and from reefs off southeast Florida heavily impacted by multiple sources of anthropogenic nitrogen. The delta(15)N of the most recently grown skeleton (branch tips) ranged from +2 to +3 per thousand at Green Turtle Cay, and +4.5 to +10 per thousand off Florida. These values closely match the delta(15)N of macroalgae collected from the same locations, indicating that gorgonian corals are isotopically similar to primary producers, and therefore suitable for assessing sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen. Differences in the delta(15)N between younger and older skeleton indicated an overall decline of -0.34 +/- 0.06 per thousand (1 s.e) over the last 20 - 40 years at Green Turtle Cay, reflecting a possible increase in nitrogen fixation and/or atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic nitrogen. Off southeast Florida, there was an overall increase in delta(15)N over the same time period, reflecting increasing wastewater discharges from the rapidly growing population. These results highlight the usefulness of delta(15)N recorded in gorgonians and other long-lived organisms in assessing spatiotemporal patterns of nitrogen sources to coastal marine environments.

  19. Halogenated briarane diterpenes with acetyl migration from the gorgonian coral Junceella fragilis.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Wei; Li, Xiaodan; Yin, Fuling; van Ofwegen, Leen; Lin, Wenhan

    2017-03-24

    Chemical examination of the gorgonian coral Junceella fragilis resulted in the isolation of four pairs of acetyl isomers belonging to briarane diterpenoids, including five new compounds. Their structures were determined on the basis of extensive spectroscopic (IR, MS, NMR and single-crystal X-ray diffraction) analysis in association with the chemical conversion. Each pair of isomers featured by dynamical interconversion through as acetyl migration in 1,2-diol, which was postulated to be generated under the formation of a cyclic orthoacetate intermediate. All compounds exerted the inhibitory activities against the NO production in RAW264.7 macrophage cells. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. New marine sterols from an algal-bearing gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yu-Chia; Chen, Nan-Fu; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Tseng, Chung-Chih; Wu, Tung-Ying; Peng, Bo-Rong; Wen, Zhi-Hong; Fang, Lee-Shing; Wu, Yang-Chang; Sheu, Jyh-Horng; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2016-11-01

    Four new marine sterols, (22E,24R)-ergosta-5,22-diene-3β,11α-diol (1), (24S)-ergosta-5-ene-3β,11α-diol (2), 5α,6α-epoxy-23-demethylgorgost-8-ene-3β,7α-diol (3), and 5α,6α-epoxy-23-demethylgorgost-8(14)-ene-3β,7α-diol (4), along with a known metabolite, 23-demethylgorgost-7-ene-3β,5α,6β-triol (5), were isolated from an algal-bearing gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp., collected off the waters of Taiwan. The structures of these sterols were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic methods. Sterols 1-5 were tested for in vitro cytotoxicity in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Proliferation of HSCs plays a key role in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. 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.

  6. Carbonate “clumped” isotope signatures in aragonitic scleractinian and calcitic gorgonian deep-sea corals

    DOE PAGES

    Kimball, Justine; Eagle, Robert; Dunbar, Robert

    2016-12-12

    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 inmore » 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 high-Mg 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 high-Mg calcitic gorgonian corals and the two groups of coral produce statistically different relationships 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimball, Justine; Eagle, Robert; Dunbar, Robert

    2016-12-01

    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 high-Mg 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 high-Mg calcitic gorgonian corals and the two groups of coral produce statistically different relationships 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

  8. 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

  9. Suberosols A-D, four new sesquiterpenes with beta-caryophyllene skeletons from a Taiwanese gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guey-Horng; Ahmed, Atallah F; Sheu, Jyh-Horng; Duh, Chang-Yih; Shen, Ya-Ching; Wang, Li-Tang

    2002-06-01

    Four new beta-caryophyllene-derived sesquiterpenes alcohols, suberosols A (1), B (2), C (3), and D (4), along with two known beta-caryophyllene-derived sesqueterpene ketones, buddledins C (5) and D (6), were isolated from a Taiwanese gorgonian coral Subergorgia suberosa. The structures of 1-4 were determined on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analyses. Cytotoxicity of these compounds toward various cancer cell lines is also described.

  10. Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Distribution of Deep-Water Gorgonian Corals in Relation to Seabed Topography on the Norwegian Margin

    PubMed Central

    Tong, Ruiju; Purser, Autun; Unnithan, Vikram; Guinan, Janine

    2012-01-01

    Investigating the relationship between deep-water coral distribution and seabed topography is important for understanding the terrain habitat selection of these species and for the development of predictive habitat models. In this study, the distribution of the deep-water gorgonians, Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis, in relation to terrain variables at multiple scales of 30 m, 90 m and 170 m were investigated at Røst Reef, Traena Reef and Sotbakken Reef on the Norwegian margin, with Ecological Niche Factor Analysis applied. To date, there have been few published studies investigating this aspect of gorgonian distribution. A similar correlation between the distribution of P. arborea and P. resedaeformis and each particular terrain variable was found at each study site, but the strength of the correlation between each variable and distribution differed by reef. The terrain variables of bathymetric position index (BPI) and curvature at analysis scales of 90 m or 170 m were most strongly linked to the distribution of both species at the three geographically distinct study sites. Both gorgonian species tended to inhabit local topographic highs across all three sites, particularly at Sotbakken Reef and Traena Reef, with both species observed almost exclusively on such topographic highs. The tendency for observed P. arborea to inhabit ridge crests at Røst Reef was much greater than was indicated for P. resedaeformis. This investigation identifies the terrain variables which most closely correlate with distribution of these two gorgonian species, and analyzes their terrain habitat selection; further development of predictive habitat models may be considered essential for effective management of these species. PMID:22912887

  11. Seasonal Stability in the Microbiomes of Temperate Gorgonians and the Red Coral Corallium rubrum Across the Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    van de Water, Jeroen A J M; Voolstra, Christian R; Rottier, Cecile; Cocito, Silvia; Peirano, Andrea; Allemand, Denis; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2017-07-05

    Populations of key benthic habitat-forming octocoral species have declined significantly in the Mediterranean Sea due to mass mortality events caused by microbial disease outbreaks linked to high summer seawater temperatures. Recently, we showed that the microbial communities of these octocorals are relatively structured; however, our knowledge on the seasonal dynamics of these microbiomes is still limited. To investigate their seasonal stability, we collected four soft gorgonian species (Eunicella singularis, Eunicella cavolini, Eunicella verrucosa and Leptogorgia sarmentosa) and the precious red coral (Corallium rubrum) from two coastal locations with different terrestrial impact levels in the Mediterranean Sea, and used next-generation amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The microbiomes of all soft gorgonian species were dominated by the same 'core microbiome' bacteria belonging to the Endozoicomonas and the Cellvibrionales clade BD1-7, whereas the red coral microbiome was primarily composed of 'core' Spirochaetes, Oceanospirillales ME2 and Parcubacteria. The associations with these bacterial taxa were relatively consistent over time at each location for each octocoral species. However, differences in microbiome composition and seasonal dynamics were observed between locations and could primarily be attributed to locally variant bacteria. Overall, our data provide further evidence of the intricate symbiotic relationships that exist between Mediterranean octocorals and their associated microbes, which are ancient and highly conserved over both space and time, and suggest regulation of the microbiome composition by the host, depending on local conditions.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Application of a functional marker for the effect of cryoprotectant agents on gorgonian coral (Junceella juncea and J. fragilis) sperm sacs.

    PubMed

    Tsai, S; Kuit, V; Lin, Z G; Lin, C

    2014-01-01

    The establishment of coral sperm repositories which retain good post-rewarming viability and fertility play a vital role in species conservation. This study aimed at obtaining baseline information regarding the effects of cryoprotectant agents (CPAs) on gorgonian coral (Junceella juncea and J. fragilis) sperm sacs. The adenosine triphosphate assay was used to determine the energy level of the gorgonian sperm sacs as an indicator of sperm viability after exposure to cryoprotectants. The 'no observed effect concentrations' (NOECs) of methanol, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), polypropylene glycol (PG), ethylene glycol (EG) and glycerol for J. juncea sperm sacs were 3 M, 3 M, 1 M, 2 M and 1 M respectively after 20 min exposure; whilst the NOECs for J. fragilis oocytes were 2 M, 3 M, 1 M, 2 M and 2 M, respectively. Methanol and DMSO had the least impact. PG was the most toxic CPA after 10 min exposure. ATP content of J. juncea and J. fragilis sperm sacs did not differ significantly from the control with incubation times of 10-20 min with 2 M EG. However, ATP content dropped significantly after exposing sperm sacs to 2 M EG for 40 min with average values of 2.34 +/- 0.12 and 1.97 +/- 0.48 microg/ml respectively. ATP content for J. juncea and J. fragilis sperm sacs was significantly decreased to 1.79 +/- 0.31 and 2.40 +/- 0.36 microg/ml after 20 min incubation in 2 M PG when compared to the control with 2.98 +/- 0.16 and 4.14 +/- 0.42 microg/ml respectively. Normalized ATP content for sperm sacs of two different gorgonian coral after incubation in methanol, DMSO, PG, EG and glycerol showed that J. juncea sperm sacs were slightly less tolerant to CPAs compared to J. fragilis sperm sacs. DMSO or methanol can be considered as efficient CPAs for gorgonian sperm sacs cryopreservation. The ATP luminescence assay provided sensitive and rapid quantification of mitochondrial activity in gorgonian coral sperm sacs. The study on the impact of CPA will contribute to the development of a

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. A case of modular phenotypic plasticity in the depth gradient for the gorgonian coral Antillogorgia bipinnata (Cnidaria: Octocorallia).

    PubMed

    Calixto-Botía, Iván; Sánchez, Juan A

    2017-02-17

    Phenotypic plasticity, as a phenotypic response induced by the environment, has been proposed as a key factor in the evolutionary history of corals. A significant number of octocoral species show high phenotypic variation, exhibiting a strong overlap in intra- and inter-specific morphologic variation. This is the case of the gorgonian octocoral Antillogorgia bipinnata (Verrill 1864), which shows three polyphyletic morphotypes along a bathymetric gradient. This research tested the phenotypic plasticity of modular traits in A. bipinnata with a reciprocal transplant experiment involving 256 explants from two morphotypes in two locations and at two depths. Vertical and horizontal length and number of new branches were compared 13 weeks following transplant. The data were analysed with a linear mixed-effects model and a graphic approach by reaction norms. At the end of the experiment, 91.8% of explants survived. Lower vertical and horizontal growth rates and lower branch promotion were found for deep environments compared to shallow environments. The overall variation behaved similarly to the performance of native transplants. In particular, promotion of new branches showed variance mainly due to a phenotypic plastic effect. Globally, environmental and genotypic effects explain the variation of the assessed traits. Survival rates besides plastic responses suggest an intermediate scenario between adaptive plasticity and local adaptation that may drive a potential process of adaptive divergence along depth cline in A. bipinnata.

  20. Pinnisterols D–J, New 11-Acetoxy-9,11-secosterols with a 1,4-Quinone Moiety from Formosan Gorgonian Coral Pinnigorgia sp. (Gorgoniidae)

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Yu-Chia; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Kuo, Liang-Mou; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2017-01-01

    Seven new marine 11-acetoxy-9,11-secosterols, pinnisterols D–J (1–7), with a 1,4-quinone moiety, were discovered from the gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp. In this study, the structures of secosterols 1–7 were revealed by spectroscopic analysis. Bioactivity study showed that secosterol 1 treatment inhibited cell viability in a hepatic stellate cell line, HSC-T6, with an IC50 value of 3.93 μM; and secosterols 2, 5, and 7 reduced elastase enzyme release, and 3, 5, and 7 decreased the production of superoxide anions from human neutrophils. PMID:28067822

  1. Variation in Symbiodinium ITS2 Sequence Assemblages among Coral Colonies

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. 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

    2011-01-05

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Phylogeography of the red coral (Corallium rubrum): inferences on the evolutionary history of a temperate gorgonian.

    PubMed

    Aurelle, D; Ledoux, J-B; Rocher, C; Borsa, P; Chenuil, A; Féral, J-P

    2011-07-01

    The red coral Corallium rubrum (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) is an exploited, long-lived sessile species from the Mediterranean Sea and the adjacent coastline in the Atlantic Ocean. Surveys of genetic variation using microsatellites have shown that populations of C. rubrum are characterized by strong differentiation at the local scale but a study of the phylogeography of this species was still lacking. Here, we used seven polymorphic microsatellite loci, together with sequence data from an intron of the elongation factor 1 (EF1) gene, to investigate the genetic structure of C. rubrum across its geographical range in the western Mediterranean Sea and in the Adriatic Sea. The EF1 sequences were also used to analyse the consequences of demographic fluctuations linked with past environmental change. Clustering analysis with microsatellite loci highlighted three to seven genetic groups with the distinction of North African and Adriatic populations; this distinction appeared significant with AMOVA and differentiation tests. Microsatellite and EF1 data extended the isolation by distance pattern previously observed for this species at the western Mediterranean scale. EF1 sequences confirmed the genetic differentiation observed between most samples with microsatellites. A statistical parsimony network of EF1 haplotypes provided no evidence of high sequence divergence among regions, suggesting no long-term isolation. Selective neutrality tests on microsatellites and EF1 were not significant but should be interpreted with caution in the case of EF1 because of the low sample sizes for this locus. Our results suggest that recent Quaternary environmental fluctuations had a limited impact on the genetic structure of C. rubrum.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Transient shifts in bacterial communities associated with the temperate gorgonian Paramuricea clavata in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    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. 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. 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 imbalance in bacterial associations can be tolerated by the holobiont

  10. 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

  11. Nutrient regime shift in the western North Atlantic indicated by compound-specific δ15N of deep-sea gorgonian corals

    PubMed Central

    Sherwood, Owen A.; Lehmann, Moritz F.; Schubert, Carsten J.; Scott, David B.; McCarthy, Matthew D.

    2011-01-01

    Despite the importance of the nitrogen (N) cycle on marine productivity, little is known about variability in N sources and cycling in the ocean in relation to natural and anthropogenic climate change. Beyond the last few decades of scientific observation, knowledge depends largely on proxy records derived from nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) preserved in sediments and other bioarchives. Traditional bulk δ15N measurements, however, represent the combined influence of N source and subsequent trophic transfers, often confounding environmental interpretation. Recently, compound-specific analysis of individual amino acids (δ15N-AA) has been shown as a means to deconvolve trophic level versus N source effects on the δ15N variability of bulk organic matter. Here, we demonstrate the first use of δ15N-AA in a paleoceanographic study, through analysis of annually secreted growth rings preserved in the organic endoskeletons of deep-sea gorgonian corals. In the Northwest Atlantic off Nova Scotia, coral δ15N is correlated with increasing presence of subtropical versus subpolar slope waters over the twentieth century. By using the new δ15N-AA approach to control for variable trophic processing, we are able to interpret coral bulk δ15N values as a proxy for nitrate source and, hence, slope water source partitioning. We conclude that the persistence of the warm, nutrient-rich regime since the early 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last approximately 1,800 yr. This evidence suggests that nutrient variability in this region is coordinated with recent changes in global climate and underscores the broad potential of δ15N-AA for paleoceanographic studies of the marine N cycle. PMID:21199952

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Characterizing coral condition using estimates of three-dimensional colony surface area.

    PubMed

    Fisher, William S; Davis, William P; Quarles, Robert L; Patrick, James; Campbell, Jed G; Harris, Peggy S; Hemmer, Becky L; Parsons, Mel

    2007-02-01

    Coral reefs provide shoreline protection, biological diversity, fishery harvests, and tourism, all values that stem from the physically-complex coral infrastructure. Stony corals (scleractinians) construct and maintain the reef through deposition of calcium carbonate. Therefore, assessment of coral reefs requires at least some measurement endpoints that reflect the biological and physical condition of stony corals. Most monitoring programs portray coral quantity as live coral cover, which is the two-dimensional proportion of coral surface to sea floor viewed from above (planar view). The absence of the third dimension, however, limits our ability to characterize coral reef value, physiology, health and sustainability. A three-dimensional (3D) approach more realistically characterizes coral structure available as community habitat and, when combined with estimates of live coral tissue, quantifies the amount of living coral available for photosynthesis, growth and reproduction. A rapid coral survey procedure that coupled 3D coral quantification with more traditional survey measurements was developed and tested in the field. The survey procedure relied on only three underwater observations--species identification, colony size, and proportion of live tissue--made on each colony in the transect. These observations generated a variety of metrics, including several based on 3D colony surface area, that are relevant to reef management.

  16. 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.

  17. Passive scalar transport to and from the surface of a Pocillopora coral colony

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hossain, Md Monir; Staples, Anne

    2016-11-01

    Three-dimensional simulations of flow through a single Pocillopora coral colony were performed to examine the interaction between the flow conditions and scalar transport near a coral colony. With corals currently undergoing a third global bleaching event, a fuller understanding of the transport of nutrients, weak temperature gradients, and other passive scalars to and from the coral polyp tissue is more important than ever. The complex geometry of a coral colony poses a significant challenge for numerical simulation. To simplify grid generation and minimize computational cost, the immersed boundary method was implemented. Large eddy simulation was chosen as the framework to capture the turbulent flow field in the range of realistic Reynolds numbers of 5,000 to 30,000 and turbulent Schmidt numbers of up to 1,000. Both uniform and oscillatory flows through the colony were investigated. Significant differences were found between the cases when the scalar originated at the edge of the flow domain and was transported into the colony, versus when the scalar originated on the surface of the colony and was transported away from the coral. The domain-to-colony transport rates were found to be orders of magnitude higher than the colony-to-domain rates.

  18. The influence of colony size and coral health on the occupation of coral-associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-03-01

    Fishes of the genus Gobiodon are habitat specialists by their association with Acropora corals. Little is known about the parameters that define host coral quality for these fishes, in particular their breeding pairs. Data were collected in the northern Red Sea using 10 × 1-m belt transects in different reefs and zones. Gobiid density was highly correlated with coral density over all sites and zones, and the more specialized goby species preferred coral species that are less vulnerable to environmental stress. Moreover, the occupation rate of corals by goby breeding pairs significantly increased with colony size and decreased with partial mortality of colonies. Logistic regression showed that both coral size (being most important) and partial mortality are key factors influencing the occupation by breeding pairs. This study provides the first evidence that breeding pairs of coral-associated gobiids have more advanced habitat requirements than con-specifics in other social states. As coral reefs are threatened worldwide and habitat loss and degradation increase, this information will help predict the potential effects on those reef fishes obligatorily associated with live corals.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. A Five-Year, In Situ Growth Study on Shallow-Water Populations of the Gorgonian Octocoral Calcigorgia spiculifera in the Gulf of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Stone, Robert P; Malecha, Patrick W; Masuda, Michele M

    2017-01-01

    Gorgonian octocorals are the most abundant corals in Alaska where they provide important structural habitat for managed species of demersal fish and invertebrates. Fifty-nine gorgonian species have been reported from Alaska waters but little is known about their life history characteristics to help us gauge their ability to recover from seafloor disturbance. Colonies of the holaxonian Calcigorgia spiculifera were tagged beginning in 1999 at three sites in Chatham Strait, Southeast Alaska, using scuba and their growth measured annually for up to 5 years. Colonies were video recorded, and computer image analysis tools provided calibration of video images for measuring the length of several branches. Growth data indicate that C. spiculifera grows much slower (6.0 mm yr-1) than other gorgonians in Alaska for which there are data and that intraspecific growth is highly variable. We fit a Bayesian linear mixed-effects model that showed that average colony growth was significantly reduced with warmer temperature and presence of necrosis. The model further indicated that growth may slow among larger (older) colonies. Based on these results and previous studies, we propose that gorgonian growth rates are taxonomically constrained at the Suborder level and that holaxonians grow the slowest followed by scleraxonians and calcaxonians (2-3 times as fast). Findings of this study indicate that it would take approximately 60 years for C. spiculifera to grow to its maximum size and depending on the location and size of the parental standing stock, at least one and possibly 10 additional years for recruitment to occur. Our results further indicate that colonies that are injured, perhaps chronically in areas of frequent disturbance, grow at slower rates and if the current trend of ocean warming continues then we can expect these corals to grow more slowly, and the habitats they form will require more time to recover from disturbance.

  2. A Five-Year, In Situ Growth Study on Shallow-Water Populations of the Gorgonian Octocoral Calcigorgia spiculifera in the Gulf of Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Stone, Robert P.; Malecha, Patrick W.; Masuda, Michele M.

    2017-01-01

    Gorgonian octocorals are the most abundant corals in Alaska where they provide important structural habitat for managed species of demersal fish and invertebrates. Fifty-nine gorgonian species have been reported from Alaska waters but little is known about their life history characteristics to help us gauge their ability to recover from seafloor disturbance. Colonies of the holaxonian Calcigorgia spiculifera were tagged beginning in 1999 at three sites in Chatham Strait, Southeast Alaska, using scuba and their growth measured annually for up to 5 years. Colonies were video recorded, and computer image analysis tools provided calibration of video images for measuring the length of several branches. Growth data indicate that C. spiculifera grows much slower (6.0 mm yr-1) than other gorgonians in Alaska for which there are data and that intraspecific growth is highly variable. We fit a Bayesian linear mixed-effects model that showed that average colony growth was significantly reduced with warmer temperature and presence of necrosis. The model further indicated that growth may slow among larger (older) colonies. Based on these results and previous studies, we propose that gorgonian growth rates are taxonomically constrained at the Suborder level and that holaxonians grow the slowest followed by scleraxonians and calcaxonians (2–3 times as fast). Findings of this study indicate that it would take approximately 60 years for C. spiculifera to grow to its maximum size and depending on the location and size of the parental standing stock, at least one and possibly 10 additional years for recruitment to occur. Our results further indicate that colonies that are injured, perhaps chronically in areas of frequent disturbance, grow at slower rates and if the current trend of ocean warming continues then we can expect these corals to grow more slowly, and the habitats they form will require more time to recover from disturbance. PMID:28068374

  3. 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.

  4. Cryptic diversity hides host and habitat specialization in a gorgonian-algal symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Prada, Carlos; McIlroy, Shelby E; Beltrán, Diana M; Valint, Daniel J; Ford, Scott A; Hellberg, Michael E; Coffroth, Mary Alice

    2014-07-01

    Shallow water anthozoans, the major builders of modern coral reefs, enhance their metabolic and calcification rates with algal symbionts. Controversy exists over whether these anthozoan-algae associations are flexible over the lifetimes of individual hosts, promoting acclimative plasticity, or are closely linked, such that hosts and symbionts co-evolve across generations. Given the diversity of algal symbionts and the morphological plasticity of many host species, cryptic variation within either partner could potentially confound studies of anthozoan-algal associations. Here, we used ribosomal, organelle and nuclear sequences, along with microsatellite variation, to study the relationship between lineages of a common Caribbean gorgonian and its algal symbionts. The gorgonian Eunicea flexuosa is a broadcast spawner, composed of two recently diverged, genetically distinct lineages largely segregated by depth. We sampled colonies of the two lineages across depth gradients at three Caribbean locations. We find that each host lineage is associated with a unique Symbiodinium B1/184 phylotype. This relationship between host and symbiont is maintained when host colonies are reciprocally transplanted, although cases of within phylotype switching were also observed. Even when the phylotypes of both partners are present at intermediate depths, the specificity between host and symbiont lineages remained absolute. Unrecognized cryptic diversity may mask host-symbiont specificity and change the inference of evolutionary processes in mutualistic associations. Symbiotic specificity thus likely contributes to the ecological divergence of the two partners, generating species diversity within coral reefs. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. Spawning of the colonial coral Cladocora caespitosa (Anthozoa, Scleractinia) in the Southern Adriatic Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kružić, P.; Žuljević, A.; Nikolić, V.

    2008-06-01

    Data on sexual reproduction of scleractinian coral species living in temperate zones, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, are quite scarce. This paper describes sexual reproduction of the colonial coral Cladocora caespitosa from Veliko jezero (Mljet Island) in the Adriatic Sea. Spawned orange eggs and white sperm bundles were observed on the coral bank of C. caespitosa two nights before the full moon (20 June 2005) coinciding with increasing water temperature and correlated with the lunar cycle. Spawning was observed during five nights, involving about 30% of the colonies from the coral bank. Different colonies on the bank released only one type of gamete during the reproductive period. The diameter of the sperm bundles ranged from 100 to 200 μm (average 163 μm; SD = 47.08), while the female gametes diameter ranged from 300 to 500 μm (average 416 μm; SD = 73.12).

  6. Temporal variability in epifaunal assemblages associated with temperate gorgonian gardens.

    PubMed

    Dias, I M; Cúrdia, J; Cunha, M R; Santos, M N; Carvalho, S

    2015-12-01

    The present study is one of the few that investigate the temporal variability of epifaunal assemblages associated with coral species, particularly the octocorals Eunicella gazella and Leptogorgia lusitanica in south Portugal. The results suggest time rather than colony size as a primary driver of the ecological patterns of these assemblages, which were dominated by amphipods, molluscs and polychaetes. Temporal variability was linked to changes in environmental parameters, namely temperature, chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon. Hence, temporal variability must be taken into account for the design of future biodiversity assessment studies, as different patterns may be observed depending on the sampling time. Associated epifaunal assemblages were consistently dominated by resident species (i.e. species present in all sampling periods) and a peak of rare species was observed in the transition from spring to summer following the increase in seawater temperature. Turnover was particularly high in the transition between the spring and summer periods. In both hosts, turnover was higher in the small sized colonies, which harboured less diverse and less abundant assemblages that also differed from those inhabiting larger size colonies. The high levels of diversity associated with gorgonian colonies highlight the need for the conservation of this priority habitat.

  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. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. A comparative study of phenoloxidase activity in diseased and bleached colonies of the coral Acropora millepora.

    PubMed

    Palmer, C V; Bythell, J C; Willis, B L

    2011-10-01

    In scleractinian (hard) corals, immune responses involving phenoloxidase (PO) activity are known to play a role in coral wound healing, but there have been no studies investigating their roles in mitigating either disease or bleaching in an Indo-Pacific coral. PO activity induces the release of reactive oxygen species leading to a cytotoxic cellular environment, which enhances resistance against pathogens, but is also likely to compound oxidative stress induced during bleaching. Antioxidants such as melanin, whose synthesis is activated by PO activity, and peroxidase are potentially important for mitigating the effects of oxidative stress. Therefore, PO activity was investigated in healthy and diseased colonies of Acropora millepora. PO activity levels were compared among tissues bordering white syndrome lesions (WS) and at two locations (mid and outer) at increasing distances from lesions. Equivalent locations were sampled for PO activity on visibly healthy colonies. Additionally, PO and peroxidase activity were compared between severely bleached and healthy colonies of A. millepora. Overall, PO activity of diseased colonies was significantly lower than that of healthy colonies, but with relatively higher activity at the WS lesion border. Severely bleached colonies had significantly lower PO activity than healthy colonies, and peroxidase was also lower, but not significantly. Lower PO activity in unhealthy colonies supports earlier suggestions that lower immune activity leads to increased susceptibility to disease and bleaching. Additionally, low enzyme activity levels may indicate a depletion of colony resources. Increased PO activity at lesion borders in diseased colonies confirms the relative up-regulation of a key coral immune defense in response to WS in A. millepora. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Diaz, Claudia P; 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.

  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. © 2011 Thornhill et al.

  18. 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

  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. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M James C

    2007-08-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. Observations of spatial flow patterns at the coral colony scale on a shallow reef flat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hench, James L.; Rosman, Johanna H.

    2013-03-01

    Although small-scale spatial flow variability can affect both larger-scale circulation patterns and biological processes on coral reefs, there are few direct measurements of spatial flow patterns across horizontal scales <100 m. Here flow patterns on a shallow reef flat were measured at scales from a single colony to several adjacent colonies using an array of acoustic Doppler velocimeters on a diver-operated traverse. We observed recirculation zones immediately behind colonies, reduced currents and elevated dissipation rates in turbulent wakes up to 2 colony diameters downstream and enhanced Reynolds stresses in shear layers around wake peripheries. Flow acceleration zones were observed above and between colonies. Coherent flow structures varied with incident flow speeds; recirculation zones were stronger and wakes were more turbulent in faster flows. Low-frequency (<0.03 Hz) flow variations, for which water excursions were large compared with the colony diameters (Keulegan-Carpenter number, KC >1), had similar spatial patterns to wakes, while higher-frequency variations (0.05-0.1 Hz, KC < 1) had no observable spatial structure. On the reef flat, both drag and inertial forces exerted by coral colonies could have significant effects on flow, but within different frequency ranges; drag dominates for low-frequency flow variations and inertial forces dominate for higher-frequency variations, including the wave band. Our scaling analyses suggest that spatial flow patterns at colony and patch scales could have important implications for both physical and biological processes at larger reef scales through their effects on forces exerted on the flow, turbulent mixing, and dispersion.

  5. Genetic Susceptibility, Colony Size, and Water Temperature Drive White-Pox Disease on the Coral Acropora palmata

    PubMed Central

    Muller, Erinn M.; van Woesik, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes. PMID:25372835

  6. Chemistry, histochemistry and microscopy of the organic matrix of spicules from a gorgonian coral. Relationship to alcian blue staining and calcium binding.

    PubMed

    Goldberg, W M

    1988-01-01

    Alcian blue dye normally binds to polyanionic, polymeric substances. Such structures are often associated with calcium binding portions of the organic matrix in calcifying tissues. The organic matrix of spicules prepared from the gorgonian Pseudoplexaura flagellosa (Houttuyn) is alcianophilic. The dye is very tightly bound to the lipoid portion of the insoluble spicule matrix. No acidic substances (sulfated or acidic polysaccharides or phospholipids) were demonstrable in this material, suggesting an unusual but unknown interaction between dye and substrate. On a microscopical basis, inclusion of Alcian blue (or Ruthenium red) is an essential co-requisite to glutaraldehyde fixation. Without the dye the morphological integrity of the spicule is lost on decalcification. The fragmented matrix is still alcianophilic suggesting that the dye may substitute for material solubilized by the decalcifying agents. Examination of post-decalcification supernatants demonstrate that approximately 13% of the matrix is solubilized on demineralization, releasing 93% of the carbohydrate but less than 20% of the protein. Liberated protein takes the form of peptides ranging from 1100-1500 daltons. The composition of these peptides is a function of the demineralizing agent. Acidic demineralizers produce peptides proportionately high in acidic amino acids, that do not bind calcium. Peptides produced by chelator decalcification appear to bind calcium but other evidence strongly suggests that the binding is due to adsorbed chelator rather than by soluble matrix.

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  13. Growth-Dependent Calibration of Coral Sr/Ca-SST From Multiple Colonies Provides Potential for Long SST Records from Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N. F.

    2005-12-01

    Extended reconstructions of sea surface temperature (SST) are critical to examining long-term climate variability not captured in instrumental records. Coral skeleton, which continuously accretes in annual density bands, preserves unique, multi-century archives of sub-annual resolution SST. Despite the promise of coral proxies, however, SSTs derived from corals are often several degrees cooler than those derived from other archives. Here we present strontium to calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) for four brain corals (Diploria labyrinthiformis) collected from the south shore of Bermuda that are strongly correlated with both instrumental SST (Hydrostation S, 30km southeast) and annual skeletal extension rate. High Sr/Ca ratios correspond with cold SSTs and slow skeletal growth rate, and vice versa. Over a ~25 year calibration period, the four corals have distinct average growth rates (2.57, 2.68, 3.55 and 4.03 mm/yr). For each colony, we provide a quantitative calibration of annual Sr/Ca to annual extension rate and annual SST along the axis of maximum growth and derive an individual growth dependent Sr/Ca-SST calibration equation: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + b The slopes and intercepts of the four equations are found to be linearly related to the average growth-rate during the calibration periods of each colony, and a final multi-variant regression is performed to establish one final Sr/Ca-Growth Rate-SST calibration, in the form: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + o*(average colony growth rate)*(SST) + b This growth-dependent calibration is shown to be applicable to a fossil coral of the same species in order to reconstruct SSTs at Bermuda for 223 years. A reconstruction excluding the influence of growth yields SSTs that exaggerate both cool and warm periods. SST anomalies near the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) that are derived using a non-growth dependent calibration are exaggerated by a factor of two relative to those from a growth

  14. Coral habitat in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska: depth distribution, fine-scale species associations, and fisheries interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stone, R. P.

    2006-05-01

    The first in situ exploration of Aleutian Island coral habitat was completed in 2002 to determine the distribution of corals, to examine fine-scale associations between targeted fish species and corals, and to investigate the interaction between the areas’ diverse fisheries and coral habitat. Corals, mostly gorgonians and hydrocorals, were present on all 25 seafloor transects and at depths between 27 and 363 m, but were most abundant between 100 and 200 m depth. Mean coral abundance (1.23 colonies m-2) far exceeded that reported for other high-latitude ecosystems and high-density coral gardens (3.85 colonies m-2) were observed at seven locations. Slope and offshore pinnacle habitats characterized by exposed bedrock, boulders, and cobbles generally supported the highest abundances of coral and fish. Overall, 85% of the economically important fish species observed on transects were associated with corals and other emergent epifauna. Disturbance to the seafloor from bottom-contact fishing gear was evident on 88% of the transects, and approximately 39% of the total area of the seafloor observed had been disturbed. Since cold-water corals appear to be a ubiquitous feature of seafloor habitats in the Aleutian Islands, fisheries managers face clear challenges integrating coral conservation into an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

  15. Temperature effects on the calcite skeletal composition of deep-water gorgonians (Isididae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thresher, Ronald E.; Wilson, Nicholas C.; MacRae, Colin M.; Neil, Helen

    2010-08-01

    We test for and calibrate a proxy for ocean temperature based on the skeletal composition of the widely distributed, deep-sea gorgonians in the family Isididae (bamboo corals), through use of three complementary methods: a short-term comparison of element/Ca ratios to a four-year temperature record, a long-term comparison with oceanographic records spanning forty years, and a geographic comparison of Isidids collected at sites ranging from the tropics to Antarctica. The assays consistently support a temperature-dependency for Mg/Ca ratios and suggest S/Ca is indirectly affected by temperature, but indicate little or no effect of temperature on P/Ca and Sr/Ca. The consensus relationship between Mg/Ca and temperature for Isidid calcite from the comparisons with the temperature time-series is T = -0.505 + 0.048 Mg/Ca, where T is in °C, Mg/Ca is in mmol/mol, and the applicable range is 3-6 °C. The results of the geographic assay, though imprecise, suggest the applicable range extends to temperatures below freezing. The scatter of data points around the regression of temperature and Mg/Ca is wide in all assays. This could reflect the effect of factors other than temperature on Mg/Ca ratios, but is also likely to reflect limitations of the field data, the effects of assumed constant growth rates in the corals and instrumental analytical error. The combined effects of micro-scale variability in growth rates and wide confidence intervals for each data point suggests that environmental reconstruction from Isidid internode calcite from sparse data or at time scales less than decades be done with caution. Comparisons within and among colonies do not indicate strong vital effects on ontogenetic variability in the corals, other than possibly close to the central pore of the coral. However, similar Mg/Ca ratios for Isidids from Antarctic and more temperate regions suggest adaptation to local conditions and hence a role for physiology at higher taxonomic levels, at least

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. The effect of species and colony size on the bleaching response of reef-building corals in the Florida Keys during the 2005 mass bleaching event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandt, M. E.

    2009-12-01

    Understanding the variation in coral bleaching response is necessary for making accurate predictions of population changes and the future state of reefs in a climate of increasing thermal stress events. Individual coral colonies, belonging to inshore patch reef communities of the Florida Keys, were followed through the 2005 mass bleaching event. Overall, coral bleaching patterns followed an index of accumulated thermal stress more closely than in situ temperature measurements. Eight coral species ( Colpophyllia natans, Diploria strigosa, Montastraea cavernosa, M. faveolata, Porites astreoides, P. porites, Siderastrea siderea, and Stephanocoenia intersepta), representing >90% of the coral colonies studied, experienced intense levels of bleaching, but responses varied. Bleaching differed significantly among species: Colpophyllia natans and Diploria strigosa were most susceptible to thermal stress, while Stephanocoenia intersepta was the most tolerant. For colonies of C. natans, M. faveolata, and S. siderea, larger colonies experienced more extensive bleaching than smaller colonies. The inshore patch reef communities of the Florida Keys have historically been dominated by large colonies of Montastraea sp. and Colpophyllia natans. These results provide evidence that colony-level differences can affect bleaching susceptibility in this habitat and suggest that the impact of future thermal stress events may be biased toward larger colonies of dominant reef-building species. Predicted increases in the frequency of mass bleaching and subsequent mortality may therefore result in significant structural shifts of these ecologically important communities.

  4. 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

  5. Declining coral skeletal extension for forereef colonies of Siderastrea siderea on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, Southern Belize.

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-16

    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. 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. 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 the cause(s) of the observed reductions in coral skeletal growth. This

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-12-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Link between variation in skeletal isotopes (C,O) and tissue stable isotopes (C,N) of holobiont, polyp and zooxanthellae from coral colonies of Madracis spp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maier, C.; Pätzold, J.; Schouten, S.; Bak, R. P. M.

    2003-04-01

    The branching corals M. mirabilis, M. carmabi and M. formosa are abundant species in reefs of Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles). The species are adapted to different depths, growing in shallow (<20 m), intermediate (˜30 m) and deep waters (>40 m), respectively. With increasing water depth, a shift from a strongly autotrophic to a more heterotrophic life style can be expected. This should be detectable in both skeletal and tissue isotopes. If coral metabolism is mainly supplied by photosynthesis, the δ13C of zooxanthellae and polyp tissue should be the same indicating a complete carbon recycling between algal symbiont (zooxanthellae) and coral host. For the skeleton two major trends were observed for both oxygen and carbon stable isotopes: 1) values got heavier with increasing water depth and 2) values were more depleted at the fast growing colony tips than at the slow growing shaded side or base of a colony. We found large intra-colony variations of the skeletal δ13C signal within colonies of the deep-adapted coral M. formosa, with low δ13C signals being comparable to those of the shallow water coral. For the tissue the δ13C values of the holobiont ranged from -16.5 permil at shallow to -22 permil for the deep corals. At tips of colonies the tissue δ13C of zooxanthellae was heavier than the δ13C of the polyp tissue. Surprisingly, the magnitude of this offset was consistent over the whole depth range. Expected was that the difference in δ13C between zooxanthellae and polyp should increase with increasing water depth reflecting a shift from autotrophy to heterotrophy. The overall decrease in tissue δ13C with increasing depth hints at increased heterotrophic feeding, with the rate of carbon recycling between polyp host and symbiont being maintained over this depth gradient. On intra-colony scale (between tip and side of a colony), the tissue δ13C only differs by 0.5 permil and this difference is consistent at all depths (and hence the same for all species

  15. Fast repetition rate (FRR) fluorometry: variability of chlorophyll a fluorescence yields in colonies of the corals, Montastraea faveolata (w.) and Diploria labyrinthiformes (h.) recovering from bleaching.

    PubMed

    Lombardi; Lesser; Gorbunov

    2000-09-05

    Recently, an underwater version of a fast repetition rate fluorometer (FRRF) was developed for the non-destructive study of fluorescence yields in benthic photoautotrophs. We used an FRRF to study bleached colonies of the corals, Montastraea faveolata and Diploria labyrinthiformes at sites surrounding Lee Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas, to assess their recovery from bleaching ( approximately 1 year after the initial bleaching event) induced by elevated temperatures. The steady state quantum yields of chlorophyll a fluorescence (DeltaF'/F'(m)) from photosystem II (PSII) within coral colonies were separated into three categories representing visibly distinct degrees of bleaching ranging from no bleaching to completely bleached areas. Differences in DeltaF'/F'(m) were significantly different from bleached to unbleached regions within colonies. Dark, unbleached regions within colonies exhibited significantly higher DeltaF'/F'(m) values (0.438+/-0.019; mean+/-S.D.) when compared to lighter regions, and occupied a majority of the colonies' surface area (46-73%). Bleached regions exhibited significantly lower DeltaF'/F'(m) (0.337+/-0.014) and covered only 7-25% of the colonies' surface area. The observations from this study suggest that zooxanthellae in bleached regions of a colony exhibit reduced photosynthetic activity as long as one year after a bleaching event and that in situ fluorescence techniques such as FRRF are an effective means of studying coral responses and recovery from natural or anthropogenic stress in a non-destructive manner.

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-02

    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.

  19. New Marine Sterols from a Gorgonian Pinnigorgia sp.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yu-Chia; Hwang, Tsong-Long; Chao, Chih-Hua; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2017-03-03

    Continuous chemical investigation of the gorgonian coral Pinnigorgia sp. resulted in the isolation of two new sterols, 5α,6α-epoxy-(22E,24R)-3β,11-dihydroxy-9,11-secoergosta-7-en-9-one (1) and (22R)-acetoxy-(24ξ)-ergosta-5-en-3β,25-diol (2). The structures of sterols 1 and 2 were elucidated using spectroscopic methods. Sterol 1 displayed inhibitory effects on the generation of superoxide anions and the release of elastase by human neutrophils with IC50 values of 8.65 and 5.86 μM, respectively. The structure of a known metabolite, pubinernoid A (3), is revised as (+)-loliolide (4).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beazley, Lindsay I.; Kenchington, Ellen L.

    2012-10-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  2. Multi-Colony Calibrations of Coral Ba/Ca With a Contemporaneous In Situ Seawater Barium Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LaVigne, M.; Matthews, K. A.; Grottoli, A. G.; Palardy, J.; Sherrell, R. M.

    2014-12-01

    The coral skeleton barium to calcium ratio (Ba/Cacoral), a proxy for seawater barium concentration (BaSW), has been interpreted as an upwelling tracer based on the "nutrient like" depth profile of BaSW. However, terrestrial runoff and differences between the vertical distribution of BaSW and that of the major nutrients in the upper water column can compromise the reliability of Ba/Cacoral as an upwelled nutrient proxy in some coastal locations. For example, a 6-month time series record of BaSW, SST, SSS, and surface nutrients in the Gulf of Panamá shows that maximum seasonal inputs from terrestrial runoff occur during the upwelling minimum. In contrast to nutrients, BaSW variations resulting from upwelling are overwhelmed by the runoff influence at this location. High resolution Ba/Cacoral records from multiple colonies of Porites lobata, Pavona gigantea, and Pavona clavus corals growing during this period record the nearly two-fold runoff-induced change in BaSW in Gulf of Panamá surface waters as an ~20-70% increase in skeletal Ba/Ca, providing an opportunity to calibrate the Ba proxy with a contemporaneous BaSW record. Compiling the Ba/Cacoral records from three co-located colonies of each species into taxa-specific composite regressions reveal statistically significant correlations with the BaSW time-series (r2=0.7; p <0.001). The application of the Pavona clavus calibration to a previously published Galapágos Ba/Cacoral record and offsets in regression variables between taxa demonstrate the necessity of using taxa-specific calibrations for quantitative BaSW reconstructions. Similar studies using longer high-resolution multi-colony records could further our understanding of intercolony-reproducibility and reduce the uncertainty in the regressions. These results support the application of Ba/Cacoral to reconstruct past changes in BaSW and underscore the value of combining multiple skeletal proxies to provide a complete picture of surface water biogeochemistry.

  3. 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.

  4. Aspergillus sydowii and Other Potential Fungal Pathogens in Gorgonian Octocorals of the Ecuadorian Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Soler-Hurtado, M. Mar; Sandoval-Sierra, José Vladimir; Machordom, Annie; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Emerging fungal diseases are threatening ecosystems and have increased in recent decades. In corals, the prevalence and consequences of these infections have also increased in frequency and severity. Coral reefs are affected by an emerging fungal disease named aspergillosis, caused by Aspergillus sydowii. This disease and its pathogen have been reported along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia. Despite this, an important number of coral reefs worldwide have not been investigated for the presence of this pathogen. In this work, we carried out the surveillance of the main coral reef of the Ecuadorian Pacific with a focus on the two most abundant and cosmopolitan species of this ecosystem, Leptogorgia sp. and Leptogorgia obscura. We collected 59 isolates and obtained the corresponding sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacers (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA. These were phylogenetically analyzed using MrBayes, which indicated the presence of two isolates of the coral reef pathogen A. sydowii, as well as 16 additional species that are potentially pathogenic to corals. Although the analyzed gorgonian specimens appeared healthy, the presence of these pathogens, especially of A. sydowii, alert us to the potential risk to the health and future survival of the Pacific Ecuadorian coral ecosystem under the current scenario of increasing threats and stressors to coral reefs, such as habitat alterations by humans and global climate change. PMID:27902710

  5. Aspergillus sydowii and Other Potential Fungal Pathogens in Gorgonian Octocorals of the Ecuadorian Pacific.

    PubMed

    Soler-Hurtado, M Mar; Sandoval-Sierra, José Vladimir; Machordom, Annie; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Emerging fungal diseases are threatening ecosystems and have increased in recent decades. In corals, the prevalence and consequences of these infections have also increased in frequency and severity. Coral reefs are affected by an emerging fungal disease named aspergillosis, caused by Aspergillus sydowii. This disease and its pathogen have been reported along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia. Despite this, an important number of coral reefs worldwide have not been investigated for the presence of this pathogen. In this work, we carried out the surveillance of the main coral reef of the Ecuadorian Pacific with a focus on the two most abundant and cosmopolitan species of this ecosystem, Leptogorgia sp. and Leptogorgia obscura. We collected 59 isolates and obtained the corresponding sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacers (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA. These were phylogenetically analyzed using MrBayes, which indicated the presence of two isolates of the coral reef pathogen A. sydowii, as well as 16 additional species that are potentially pathogenic to corals. Although the analyzed gorgonian specimens appeared healthy, the presence of these pathogens, especially of A. sydowii, alert us to the potential risk to the health and future survival of the Pacific Ecuadorian coral ecosystem under the current scenario of increasing threats and stressors to coral reefs, such as habitat alterations by humans and global climate change.

  6. Briarane Diterpenoids from the Gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25528959

  7. Inter-Colony Fidelity of Sr/Ca Variability in the Massive Caribbean Coral Siderastrea siderea: a Sub-Fossil Example

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maupin, C. R.; Quinn, T. M.; Poore, R. Z.; Lin, K.; Shen, C.

    2008-12-01

    Coral-based reconstructions of climate variability in the Atlantic Warm Pool (AWP) in the pre-instrumental period are sparse. Multi-century Sr/Ca records generated from the skeleton of the widely distributed, massive, slow growing (~0.5 cm yr-1) coral Siderastrea siderea have the potential to address this data gap by providing robust proxies of interannual- to centennial-scale sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the AWP. However, before modern and fossil geochemical time series from S. siderea can be interpreted in terms of climate variability, reproducibility tests must be performed on individual coral colonies from the same location. Here we provide one such assessment of inter-colony reproducibility in the geochemistry of S. siderea using cores from the Dry Tortugas National Park (~24°33'N, 82°53'W). Time series of Sr/Ca from a large colony cored live in the summer of 1993 and a second, sub-fossil colony core, with a high-precision mass spectrometric U/Th date of 110 ± 1.7 (2σ) yrs, are compared. The 25-year overlap exhibits excellent reproducibility in both monthly and monthly anomaly space, and the average absolute difference between monthly data from the two time series is within instrumental precision. The results of this work suggest that individual monthly Sr/Ca records from S. siderea can be deemed representative of local SST variability, and that continuous local Sr/Ca records can be successfully spliced together from living and sub-fossil corals using high precision U/Th dating.

  8. Isolation and structures of sixteen new asbestinin diterpenes from the Caribbean gorgonian Briareum asbestinum.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, A D; Cóbar, O M; Martínez, N

    1994-12-01

    Sixteen new diterpenoids, representative of the asbestinane skeletal class, have been isolated from shallow water colonies of the Caribbean gorgonian octocoral Briareum asbestinum. The structures of these secondary metabolites, named asbestinin-11 [1], asbestinin-12 [3], asbestinin-13 [4], asbestinin-14 [5], asbestinin-15 [7], asbestinin-16 [8], asbestinin-17 [9], asbestinin-18 [10], asbestinin-19 [11], asbestinin-20 [12], asbestinin-21 [13], asbestinin-22 [14], asbestinin-23 [15], 11-acetoxy-4-deoxyasbestinin E [16], 11-acetoxy-4-deoxyasbestinin F [17] and 4-deoxyasbestinin G [18], were defined by chemical and spectroscopic methods. These specimens of B. asbestinum, collected in Puerto Rico, yielded almost exclusively diterpenoids possessing the asbestinane carbon skeleton thus suggesting minor biosynthetic variations for this gorgonian. In this paper, we also revise the structures of the known asbestinin-6 and asbestinin-7 to asbestinanes 2 and 6, respectively.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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 ...

  13. Fate of Photosynthetic Fixed Carbon in Light- and Shade-Adapted Colonies of the Symbiotic Coral Stylophora pistillata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1984-08-01

    The total daily flux of photosynthetically fixed carbon in light- and shade-adapted phenotypes of the symbiotic coral, Stylophora pistillata, was quantified. Light adapted corals fixed four times as much carbon and respired twice as much as shade corals. Specific growth rates of zooxanthellae in situ were estimated from average daily mitotic indices and from ammonium uptake rates (nitrate uptake or nitrate reductase activity could not be demonstrated). Specific growth rates were very low, demonstrating that of the total net carbon fixed daily, only a small fraction (less than 5%) goes into zooxanthellae cell growth. The balance of the net fixed carbon (more than 95%) is translocated to the host. New and conventional methods of measuring total daily translocation were compared. The `growth rate' method, which does not employ 14C, emerged as superior to the conventional in vitro and in vivo methods. The contribution of translocated carbon to animal maintenance respiration (CZAR) was 143% in light corals and 58% in shade corals. Thus, translocation in the former could supply not only the total daily carbon needed for respiration but also a fraction of the carbon needed for growth. Whereas light-adapted corals released only 6%, shade-adapted corals released almost half of their total fixed carbon as dissolved or particulate organic material. This much higher throughput of organic carbon may possibly benefit the heterotrophic microbial community in shade environments.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Deep-sea coral and hardbottom habitats on the west Florida slope, eastern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, Steve W.; Rhode, Mike; Brooke, Sandra

    2017-02-01

    Until recently, benthic habitats dominated by deep-sea corals (DSC) appeared to be less extensive on the slope of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) than in the northeast Atlantic Ocean or off the southeastern US. There are relatively few bioherms (i.e., coral-built mounds) in the northern GOM, and most DSCs are attached to existing hard substrata (e.g., authigenically formed carbonate). The primary structure-forming, DSC in the GOM is Lophelia pertusa, but structure is also provided by other living and dead scleractinians, antipatharians (black corals), octocorals (gorgonians, soft corals), hydrocorals and sponges, as well as abundant rocky substrata. The best development of DSCs in the GOM was previously documented within Viosca Knoll oil and gas lease blocks 826 and 862/906 (north-central GOM) and on the Campeche Bank (southern GOM in Mexican waters). This paper documents extensive deep reef ecosystems composed of DSC and rocky hard-bottom recently surveyed on the West Florida Slope (WFS, eastern GOM) during six research cruises (2008-2012). Using multibeam sonar, CTD casts, and video from underwater vehicles, we describe the physical and oceanographic characteristics of these deep reefs and provide size or area estimates of deep coral and hardground habitats. The multibeam sonar analyses revealed hundreds of mounds and ridges, some of which were subsequently surveyed using underwater vehicles. Mounds and ridges in <525 m depths were usually capped with living coral colonies, dominated by L. pertusa. An extensive rocky scarp, running roughly north-south for at least 229 km, supported lower abundances of scleractinian corals than the mounds and ridges, despite an abundance of settlement substrata. Areal comparisons suggested that the WFS may exceed other parts of the GOM slope in extent of living deep coral coverage and other deep-reef habitat (dead coral and rock). The complex WFS region warrants additional studies to better understand the influences of oceanography and

  17. Coral injuries observed at Mesophotic Reefs after the Deepwater Horizon oil discharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva, Mauricio; Etnoyer, Peter J.; MacDonald, Ian R.

    2016-07-01

    Pathologies in over 400 octocoral and antipatharian colonies were quantified in the aftermath of the DWH oil discharge. Observations were made in September 2011 at water depths of 65-75 m in the Pinnacle Reef trend area offshore from Mississippi and Alabama, Gulf of Mexico, using a digital macro camera deployed from an ROV to examine the coral populations for injury at two principal sites: Alabama Alps Reef (AAR) and Roughtongue Reef (RTR). Taxa observed to exhibit injury included gorgonian octocorals Hypnogorgia pendula, Bebryce spp., Thesea nivea, and Swiftia exserta, the antipatharian Antipathes atlantica, and the sea whips Stichopathes sp., and Ellisella barbadensis. The most common type of injury was a biofilm with a clumped or flake-like appearance covering sea-fan branches. Extreme injuries were characterized by bare skeletons, broken and missing branches. Comparing the 2011 results to previous photo surveys of the same study sites between 1997 and 1999, we found significantly more occurrences of injury in 2011 among taxa with growth forms >0.5 m. We hypothesize that Tropical Storm Bonnie facilitated and accelerated the mixing process of dispersant-treated hydrocarbons into the water column, resulting in harmful contact with coral colonies at mesophotic depths. Analysis of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (tPAH) concentrations in sediments at AAR and RTR found levels elevated above pre-discharge values, but orders of magnitude below toxicity thresholds established for fauna in estuarine sediments. The tPAH concentrations measured in octocoral and echinoderm tissue samples from AAR and RTR were detectable (mean values ranged from 51 to 345 ppb); however, bioeffect thresholds do not currently exist with which to evaluate the potential harm these levels may cause. Our findings indicate that coral injuries observed in 2011 may have resulted from an acute, isolated event rather than ongoing natural processes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    Caribbean reef corals have declined precipitously since the 1980s due to regional episodes of bleaching, disease and algal overgrowth, but the extent of earlier degradation due to localised historical disturbances such as land clearing and overfishing remains unresolved. We analysed coral and molluscan fossil assemblages from reefs near Bocas del Toro, Panama to construct a timeline of ecological change from the 19th century-present. We report large changes before 1960 in coastal lagoons coincident with extensive deforestation, and after 1960 on offshore reefs. Striking changes include the demise of previously dominant staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and oyster Dendrostrea frons that lives attached to gorgonians and staghorn corals. Reductions in bivalve size and simplification of gastropod trophic structure further implicate increasing environmental stress on reefs. Our paleoecological data strongly support the hypothesis, from extensive qualitative data, that Caribbean reef degradation predates coral bleaching and disease outbreaks linked to anthropogenic climate change. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

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

    PubMed

    Oliver, L M; Fisher, W S; Dittmar, J; Hallock, P; Campbell, J; Quarles, R L; Harris, P; LoBue, C

    2014-08-01

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human disturbance. Proxies for human disturbance were measured as distance to town (DTT) and rankings of a low-level sediment contamination gradient analyzed from a previous study. Contaminant rank and DTT showed that percent mud, stony coral taxa richness, reef rugosity, and numbers of invertebrates and sponges were higher at sites closer to human disturbance, but a foraminiferal assemblage index was significantly lower at sites with higher proxies for human disturbance. Fish indicators showed no significant relationships with human activity, but associations between fish community measures and certain measures of stony corals, gorgonians and sponges were found. Contrasting responses between foraminifera and reef organisms may be due to greater exposure and sensitivity of foraminifera to sediment contaminants.

  2. 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.

  3. Reprint of - Deep-sea coral and hardbottom habitats on the west Florida slope, eastern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, Steve W.; Rhode, Mike; Brooke, Sandra

    2017-09-01

    Until recently, benthic habitats dominated by deep-sea corals (DSC) appeared to be less extensive on the slope of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) than in the northeast Atlantic Ocean or off the southeastern US. There are relatively few bioherms (i.e., coral-built mounds) in the northern GOM, and most DSCs are attached to existing hard substrata (e.g., authigenically formed carbonate). The primary structure-forming, DSC in the GOM is Lophelia pertusa, but structure is also provided by other living and dead scleractinians, antipatharians (black corals), octocorals (gorgonians, soft corals), hydrocorals and sponges, as well as abundant rocky substrata. The best development of DSCs in the GOM was previously documented within Viosca Knoll oil and gas lease blocks 826 and 862/906 (north-central GOM) and on the Campeche Bank (southern GOM in Mexican waters). This paper documents extensive deep reef ecosystems composed of DSC and rocky hard-bottom recently surveyed on the West Florida Slope (WFS, eastern GOM) during six research cruises (2008-2012). Using multibeam sonar, CTD casts, and video from underwater vehicles, we describe the physical and oceanographic characteristics of these deep reefs and provide size or area estimates of deep coral and hardground habitats. The multibeam sonar analyses revealed hundreds of mounds and ridges, some of which were subsequently surveyed using underwater vehicles. Mounds and ridges in <525 m depths were usually capped with living coral colonies, dominated by L. pertusa. An extensive rocky scarp, running roughly north-south for at least 229 km, supported lower abundances of scleractinian corals than the mounds and ridges, despite an abundance of settlement substrata. Areal comparisons suggested that the WFS may exceed other parts of the GOM slope in extent of living deep coral coverage and other deep-reef habitat (dead coral and rock). The complex WFS region warrants additional studies to better understand the influences of oceanography and

  4. 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

  5. Mucilage impact on gorgonians in the Tyrrhenian sea.

    PubMed

    Giuliani, S; Virno Lamberti, C; Sonni, C; Pellegrini, D

    2005-12-15

    The mucilage phenomenon has affected the Tuscan Archipelago since its first appearance (1991) in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Mediterranean Sea) [Innamorati M, Raddi E, Buzzichelli A, Melley S, Demoulin M. Le mucillaggini nel Mar Tirreno. Biol Mar Suppl Notiz 1992;1:23-26; Sartoni G, Sonni C. Tribonema marinum J. Feldmann e Acinetospora crinita (Carmichael) Sauvageau nelle formazioni mucillaginose bentoniche osservate sulle coste toscane nell'estate 1991. Inf Bot Ital 1991;23:23-30; Sartoni G, Cinelli F, Boddi S. Ruolo di Tribonema marinum J. Feldmann ed Acinetospora crinita (Carmichael) Sauvageau negli aggregati mucillaginosi bentonici delle coste toscane. Biol Mar Suppl Notiz 1993;1:31-34]. Seasonally, these mucous aggregates become very common in the benthic domain. The gorgonians are the most exposed organisms because they provide the best support for mucilage growth; indeed, their long branches positioned in orthogonally with respect to the current so as to capture plankton, also trap the filamentous mucilage present in the water. A 3-year monitoring programme at Capo Calvo (Island of Elba) was carried out in order to study the appearance of the mucilage phenomenon and its impact on three species of gorgonians (Eunicella cavolinii, Eunicella singularis, and Paramuricea clavata). The composition of mucilage and the gorgonian recovery capacity, when damaged, were investigated. During the first year of study (1999), no relevant interactions between gorgonians and mucilages were recorded. Instead, massive presence of mucilages causing different types of damage to the different gorgonian species investigated was recorded during the second (2000) and third year (2001). The type and the extent of the impact of mucilages also depend on the season. Three species of algae (Nematochrysopsis marina, Chrysonephos lewisii and Acinetospora crinita) constitute the principal components of the mucilaginous aggregates. In general, the first two species occur during the spring season

  6. Empirical assessment of coral Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios as climate proxies using colonies grown at different temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inoue, Mayuri; Suzuki, Atsushi; Nohara, Masato; Hibino, Kohei; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2007-06-01

    Coral strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) and magnesium/calcium (Mg/Ca) ratios might be useful for reconstructing past sea surface temperature (SST) in tropical oceans where instrumental data are limited. However, the link between coral skeletal trace elements and SST is disputed, and biological factors such as skeletal growth rate may also affect trace elements in a coral. We studied the relationships between growth rate and SST and Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios using corals (Porites spp.) cultured in thermostated tanks. Sr/Ca was controlled primarily by SST, while Mg/Ca mainly reflected the growth rate with negligible contribution from species on both the variations. These relationships are consistent with modeled results of cation partitioning during aragonite crystal formation.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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 ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-09-01

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

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. Comparative Assessment of Mediterranean Gorgonian-Associated Microbial Communities Reveals Conserved Core and Locally Variant Bacteria.

    PubMed

    van de Water, Jeroen A J M; Melkonian, Rémy; Voolstra, Christian R; Junca, Howard; Beraud, Eric; Allemand, Denis; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2017-02-01

    Gorgonians are key habitat-forming species of Mediterranean benthic communities, but their populations have suffered from mass mortality events linked to high summer seawater temperatures and microbial disease. However, our knowledge on the diversity, dynamics and function of gorgonian-associated microbial communities is limited. Here, we analysed the spatial variability of the microbiomes of five sympatric gorgonian species (Eunicella singularis, Eunicella cavolini, Eunicella verrucosa, Leptogorgia sarmentosa and Paramuricea clavata), collected from the Mediterranean Sea over a scale of ∼1100 km, using next-generation amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The microbiomes of all gorgonian species were generally dominated by members of the genus Endozoicomonas, which were at very low abundance in the surrounding seawater. Although the composition of the core microbiome (operational taxonomic units consistently present in a species) was found to be unique for each host species, significant overlap was observed. These spatially consistent associations between gorgonians and their core bacteria suggest intricate symbiotic relationships and regulation of the microbiome composition by the host. At the same time, local variations in microbiome composition were observed. Functional predictive profiling indicated that these differences could be attributed to seawater pollution. Taken together, our data indicate that gorgonian-associated microbiomes are composed of spatially conserved bacteria (core microbiome members) and locally variant members, and that local pollution may influence these local associations, potentially impacting gorgonian health.

  14. Does thermal history influence the tolerance of temperate gorgonians to future warming?

    PubMed

    Linares, Cristina; Cebrian, Emma; Kipson, Silvija; Garrabou, Joaquim

    2013-08-01

    To date, several studies have provided evidence that thermal stress affects the growth, survival and physiology of tropical and temperate macroinvertebrate species. However, few studies have focused on subtidal temperate species and the potential differential thermal tolerances of populations dwelling under contrasting temperature conditions. To assess the role that environmental history has on the response of the temperate gorgonian Eunicella singularis to thermal stress, we compared populations dwelling in the coldest and warmest areas of the NW Mediterranean Sea. Our results show that E. singularis populations from both areas exhibited a high resistance to thermal stress; however, populations from warmer areas had an increased tolerance to thermal stress. Specifically, the upper thermal limits found for cold and warm populations were 28 and 29 °C, respectively. The higher resistance of E. singularis colonies to thermal stress found in this study compared to the field temperature conditions during recent mass mortality events highlights that performing further thermotolerance experiments under contrasting levels of feeding is necessary to fully assess the tolerance thresholds displayed by both study populations. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence for the role of thermal history in shaping the thermotolerance responses of Mediterranean marine invertebrates dwelling under contrasting temperature environments.

  15. Sr/Ca sensitivity to aragonite saturation state in cultured subsamples from a single colony of coral: Mechanism of biomineralization during ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gagnon, Alexander C.; Adkins, Jess F.; Erez, Jonathan; Eiler, John M.; Guan, Yunbin

    2013-03-01

    Using a new and rapid NanoSIMS-based method, we quantified the sensitivity of skeletal Sr/Ca in coral to the aragonite saturation state of seawater (ΩSW). Skeletal Sr/Ca is a common proxy for temperature while ΩSW is a parameter that varied in the past ocean and is predicted to change with continued ocean acidification. Five adult branches of the surface coral Stylophora pistillata were grown at different ΩSW from 2.7 to 4.9 (pH of 7.9-8.5) but at a constant temperature of 25 °C. Despite a large range of growth parameters and a twofold range in calcification rates, the average skeletal Sr/Ca of coral exposed to each condition are within 1.2% of each other (2σ std. dev. of the 5 means). Furthermore, the average skeletal Sr/Ca measured in this study agrees with the results of two previous coral culture experiments conducted at the same temperature but where ΩSW was not controlled. These results suggest that aragonite saturation has little or no influence on Sr/Ca paleothermometry over the range of ΩSW investigated. Combined with existing data for low ΩSW conditions, our results were used to elucidate the mechanisms controlling calcifying fluid acid-base chemistry during coral biomineralization. Assuming that coral drive precipitation through alkalinity pumping, our data suggest that this pumping occurs until the calcifying fluid reaches a target pH. Below a threshold ΩSW bounded by 1 < ΩSW < 2.4, however, coral do not pump enough alkalinity to reach the target pH and instead pump a maximal but finite amount of alkalinity. In this low ΩSW regime, calcifying fluid pH is expected to decrease with ΩSW. The interplay between these two alkalinity pumping regimes and external seawater composition explain the full range of observed Sr/Ca sensitivity to ΩSW and suggest that surface coral may become increasingly sensitive to ocean acidification below a threshold ΩSW bounded by 1 < ΩSW < 2.4.

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

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Allometric growth in reef-building corals.

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-29

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

  20. 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

  1. Polyp oriented modelling of coral growth.

    PubMed

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

    2004-06-21

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

  2. A new steroidal glycoside from a Caribbean gorgonian, Eunicea sp.1.

    PubMed

    Cóbar, O M; Rodríguez, A D; Padilla, O L

    1997-11-01

    A new saponin possessing a pregnene-derived aglycon (1) has been isolated from the Caribbean gorgonian octocoral Eunicea sp. The structure of the new compound was assigned on the basis of chemical and spectral studies.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. The response of the Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis to thermal stress is independent of its nutritional regime.

    PubMed

    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.

  6. New anti-inflammatory sterols from a gorgonian Pinnigorgia sp.

    PubMed

    Su, Yin-Di; Cheng, Ching-Hsiao; Wen, Zhi-Hong; Wu, Yang-Chang; Sung, Ping-Jyun

    2016-07-01

    Chemical investigation on the EtOAc-soluble fraction from the MeOH/DCM extract of a gorgonian Pinnigorgia sp. afforded two new sterols, 11-acetoxy-24S-methyl-3β,5α,6α-trihydroxy-9,11-secocholest-7-en-9-one (1) and 5β,6β-epoxy-(22E,24R)-ergosta-8,22-diene-3β,7β-diol (2). The structures of sterols 1 and 2 were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic analysis and by comparison of their spectroscopic data with those of related analogues. Both 1 and 2 were shown to significantly inhibit the accumulation of the pro-inflammatory iNOS and COX-2 protein in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Structure, growth and secondary production of two Tyrrhenian populations of the white gorgonian Eunicella singularis (Esper 1791)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munari, Cristina; Serafin, Greta; Mistri, Michele

    2013-03-01

    Growth and secondary production of the shallow-water gorgonian Eunicella singularis were investigated at two infralittoral rocky stations located in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Cannitello and Cape Enfola), separated by a cline of 4° latitude. Colonies were aged by counting the number of annual growth rings at the base of the skeleton. Mean annual linear growth rates were calculated by fitting a von Bertalanffy growth equation for the species. Growth rates were 3.55 and 4.52 cm yr-1 respectively. The Enfola population exhibited an age structure reflecting a past pulse in recruitment. The Cannitello population exhibited a gamma-type distribution, dominated by younger age classes, thus suggesting a continuous recruitment rate over time. The two population differed also in colony density, which was higher at Enfola. Secondary production was estimated by means of the increment-summation method, and yielded 5.6 and 3.2 g ash-free dry weight (AFDW) m-2 yr-1 for Cannitello and Enfola populations, respectively. P/B ratio was higher at Cannitello, because of the age structure of the population. Strong currents probably cause population density-thinning mechanisms, favoring a more continuous recruitment.

  8. Overlooked habitat of a vulnerable gorgonian revealed in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic by ecological niche modelling

    PubMed Central

    Boavida, Joana; Assis, Jorge; Silva, Inga; Serrão, Ester A.

    2016-01-01

    Factors shaping the distribution of mesophotic octocorals (30–200 m depth) remain poorly understood, potentially leaving overlooked coral areas, particularly near their bathymetric and geographic distributional limits. Yet, detailed knowledge about habitat requirements is crucial for conservation of sensitive gorgonians. Here we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) relating thirteen environmental predictors and a highly comprehensive presence dataset, enhanced by SCUBA diving surveys, to investigate the suitable habitat of an important structuring species, Paramuricea clavata, throughout its distribution (Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic). Models showed that temperature (11.5–25.5 °C) and slope are the most important predictors carving the niche of P. clavata. Prediction throughout the full distribution (TSS 0.9) included known locations of P. clavata alongside with previously unknown or unreported sites along the coast of Portugal and Africa, including seamounts. These predictions increase the understanding of the potential distribution for the northern Mediterranean and indicate suitable hard bottom areas down to >150 m depth. Poorly sampled habitats with predicted presence along Algeria, Alboran Sea and adjacent Atlantic coasts encourage further investigation. We propose that surveys of target areas from the predicted distribution map, together with local expert knowledge, may lead to discoveries of new P. clavata sites and identify priority conservation areas. PMID:27841263

  9. Overlooked habitat of a vulnerable gorgonian revealed in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic by ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Boavida, Joana; Assis, Jorge; Silva, Inga; Serrão, Ester A

    2016-11-14

    Factors shaping the distribution of mesophotic octocorals (30-200 m depth) remain poorly understood, potentially leaving overlooked coral areas, particularly near their bathymetric and geographic distributional limits. Yet, detailed knowledge about habitat requirements is crucial for conservation of sensitive gorgonians. Here we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) relating thirteen environmental predictors and a highly comprehensive presence dataset, enhanced by SCUBA diving surveys, to investigate the suitable habitat of an important structuring species, Paramuricea clavata, throughout its distribution (Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic). Models showed that temperature (11.5-25.5 °C) and slope are the most important predictors carving the niche of P. clavata. Prediction throughout the full distribution (TSS 0.9) included known locations of P. clavata alongside with previously unknown or unreported sites along the coast of Portugal and Africa, including seamounts. These predictions increase the understanding of the potential distribution for the northern Mediterranean and indicate suitable hard bottom areas down to >150 m depth. Poorly sampled habitats with predicted presence along Algeria, Alboran Sea and adjacent Atlantic coasts encourage further investigation. We propose that surveys of target areas from the predicted distribution map, together with local expert knowledge, may lead to discoveries of new P. clavata sites and identify priority conservation areas.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1983-09-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Morphology and molecular phylogeny of Paragorgia rubra sp. nov. (Cnidaria: Octocorallia), a new bubblegum coral species from a seamount in the tropical Western Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Yang; Zhan, Zifeng; Xu, Kuidong

    2017-07-01

    A new species of bubblegum coral, Paragorgia rubra sp. nov., discovered from a seamount at a water depth of 373 m near the Yap Trench is studied using morphological and molecular approaches. Paragorgia rubra sp. nov. is the fourth species of the genus found in the tropical Western Pacific. The new gorgonian is red-colored, uniplanar, and measures approximately 530 mm high and 440 mm wide, with autozooids distributed only on one side of the colony. Paragorgia rubra sp. nov. is most similar to P. kaupeka Sánchez, 2005, but differs distinctly in the polyp ovals with large and compound protuberances (vs. small and simple conical protuberances) and the medullar spindles possessing simple conical protuberances (vs. compound protuberances). Moreover, P. rubra sp. nov. differs from P. kaupeka in the smaller length/width ratio of surface radiates (1.53 vs. 1.75). The genetic distance of the mtMutS gene between P. rubra sp. nov. and P. kaupeka is 0.66%, while the intraspecific distances within Paragorgia Milne-Edwards & Haime, 1857 except the species P. regalis complex are no more than 0.5%, further supporting the establishment of the new species. Furthermore, the ITS2 secondary structure of P. rubra sp. nov. is also different from those of congeners. Phylogenetic analyses indicate Paragorgia rubra sp. nov. and P. kaupeka form a clade, which branched early within Paragorgia and diversified approximately 15 Mya.

  14. Resilience of corals to hurricanes: a simulation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andres, N. G.; Rodenhouse, N. L.

    1993-11-01

    This study tested how the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, and the size and growth rate of coral colonies influence the resilience of coral populations to disturbance by severe storms. A simulation modelling approach was used to examine the resilience of four coral species with differing life history characteristics: Agaricia agaricites, A. lamarcki, Helioseris cucullata, and Porites astreoides. Resilience, defined as the rate of area (coral cover) gain, was greater for three of the species when storms were less frequent or more intense. Resilience for all species increased with colony growth rates and with increasing proportion of small and medium-sized colonies. We conclude that (1) coral populations composed of intermediate-size, fast-growing colonies the most resilient following one or more storm disturbances, and (2) that resilience of anthropogenically stressed corals depends, in part, on population size structure.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Distributions and habitat associations of deep-water corals in Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons, Mid-Atlantic Bight, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooke, S. D.; Watts, M. W.; Heil, A. D.; Rhode, M.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G. C. A.; Davies, A. J.; Ross, S. W.

    2017-03-01

    A multi-disciplinary study of two major submarine canyons, Baltimore Canyon and Norfolk Canyon, off the US mid-Atlantic coast focused on the ecology and biology of canyon habitats, particularly those supporting deep-sea corals. Historical data on deep-sea corals from these canyons were sparse with less than 750 records for the mid-Atlantic region, with most being soft sediment species. This study substantially increased the number of deep-sea coral records for the target canyons and the region. Large gorgonians were the dominant structure-forming coral taxa on exposed hard substrates, but several species of scleractinians were also documented, including first observations of Lophelia pertusa in the mid-Atlantic Bight region. Coral distribution varied within and between the two canyons, with greater abundance of the octocoral Paragorgia arborea in Baltimore Canyon, and higher occurrence of stony corals in Norfolk Canyon; these observations reflect the differences in environmental conditions, particularly turbidity, between the canyons. Some species have a wide distribution (e.g., P. arborea, Primnoa resedaeformis, Anthothela grandiflora), while others are limited to certain habitat types and/or depth zones (e.g., Paramuricea placomus, L. pertusa, Solenosmilia variabilis). The distribution of a species is driven by a combination of factors, which include availability of appropriate physical structure and environmental conditions. Although the diversity of the structure-forming corals (gorgonians, branching scleractinians and large anemones) was low, many areas of both canyons supported high coral abundance and a diverse coral-associated community. The canyons provide suitable habitat for the development of deep-sea coral communities that is not readily available elsewhere on the sedimented shelf and slope of the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

  18. Workshop on Biological Integrity of Coral Reefs August 21-22 ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    This report summarizes an EPA-sponsored workshop on coral reef biological integrity held at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico on August 21-22, 2012. The goals of this workshop were to:• Identify key qualitative and quantitative ecological characteristics (reef attributes) that determine the condition of linear coral reefs inhabiting shallow waters (<12 m) in southwestern Puerto Rico.• Use those reef attributes to recommend categorical condition rankings for establishing a biological condition gradient.• Ascertain through expert consensus those reef attributes that characterize biological integrity (a natural, fully-functioning system of organisms and communities) for coral reefs. • Develop a conceptual, narrative model that describes how biological attributes of coral reefs change along a gradient of increasing anthropogenic stress.The workshop brought together scientists with expertise in coral reef taxonomic groups (e.g., stony corals, fishes, sponges, gorgonians, algae, seagrasses and macroinvertebrates), as well as community structure, organism condition, ecosystem function and ecosystem connectivity. The experts evaluated photos and videos from 12 stations collected during EPA Coral Reef surveys (2010 & 2011) from Puerto Rico on coral reefs exhibiting a wide range of conditions. The experts individually rated each station as to observed condition (“good”, “fair” or “poor”) and documented their rationale for

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1993-11-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. River discharge reduces reef coral diversity in Palau.

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-01

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

  2. Validation of reference genes for cryopreservation studies with the gorgonian coral endosymbiont Symbiodinium

    PubMed Central

    Chong, Gabriella; Kuo, Fu-Wen; Tsai, Sujune; Lin, Chiahsin

    2017-01-01

    Quantification by real-time RT-PCR requires a stable internal reference known as a housekeeping gene (HKG) for normalising the mRNA levels of target genes. The present study identified and validated stably expressed HKGs in post-thaw Symbiodinium clade G. Six potential HKGs, namely, pcna, gapdh, 18S rRNA, hsp90, rbcl, and ps1, were analysed using three different algorithms, namely, GeNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper. The GeNorm algorithm ranked the candidate genes as follows in the order of decreasing stability: pcna and gapdh > ps1 > 18S rRNA > hsp90 > rbcl. Results obtained using the NormFinder algorithm also showed that pcna was the most stable HKG and ps1 was the second most stable HKG. We found that the candidate HKGs examined in this study showed variable stability with respect to the three algorithms. These results indicated that both pcna and ps1 were suitable for normalising target gene expression determined by performing real-time RT-PCR in cryopreservation studies on Symbiodinium clade G. The results of the present study would help future studies to elucidate the effect of cryopreservation on gene expression in dinoflagellates. PMID:28067273

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2001-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Big Data Approaches To Coral-Microbe Symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  11. 16SrDNA Pyrosequencing of the Mediterranean Gorgonian Paramuricea clavata Reveals a Link among Alterations in Bacterial Holobiont Members, Anthropogenic Influence and Disease Outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Vezzulli, Luigi; Pezzati, Elisabetta; Huete-Stauffer, Carla; Pruzzo, Carla; Cerrano, Carlo

    2013-01-01

    Mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea are becoming an increasing concern with catastrophic effects on the coastal marine environment. Sea surface temperature anomalies leading to physiological stress, starvation and microbial infections were identified as major factors triggering animal mortality. However the highest occurrence of mortality episodes in particular geographic areas and occasionally in low temperature deep environments suggest that other factors play a role as well. We conducted a comparative analysis of bacterial communities associated with the purple gorgonian Paramuricea clavata, one of the most affected species, collected at different geographic locations and depth, showing contrasting levels of anthropogenic disturbance and health status. Using massive parallel 16SrDNA gene pyrosequencing we showed that the bacterial community associated with healthy P. clavata in pristine locations was dominated by a single genus Endozoicomonas within the order Oceanospirillales which represented ∼90% of the overall bacterial community. P. clavata samples collected in human impacted areas and during disease events had higher bacterial diversity and abundance of disease-related bacteria, such as vibrios, than samples collected in pristine locations whilst showed a reduced dominance of Endozoicomonas spp. In contrast, bacterial symbionts exhibited remarkable stability in P. clavata collected both at euphotic and mesophotic depths in pristine locations suggesting that fluctuations in environmental parameters such as temperature have limited effect in structuring the bacterial holobiont. Interestingly the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus was not found on diseased corals collected during a deep mortality episode suggesting that neither temperature anomalies nor recognized microbial pathogens are solely sufficient to explain for the events. Overall our data suggest that anthropogenic influence may play a significant role in

  12. 16SrDNA Pyrosequencing of the Mediterranean Gorgonian Paramuricea clavata Reveals a Link among Alterations in Bacterial Holobiont Members, Anthropogenic Influence and Disease Outbreaks

    PubMed Central

    Vezzulli, Luigi; Pezzati, Elisabetta; Huete-Stauffer, Carla; Pruzzo, Carla; Cerrano, Carlo

    2013-01-01

    Mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea are becoming an increasing concern with catastrophic effects on the coastal marine environment. Sea surface temperature anomalies leading to physiological stress, starvation and microbial infections were identified as major factors triggering animal mortality. However the highest occurrence of mortality episodes in particular geographic areas and occasionally in low temperature deep environments suggest that other factors play a role as well. We conducted a comparative analysis of bacterial communities associated with the purple gorgonian Paramuricea clavata, one of the most affected species, collected at different geographic locations and depth, showing contrasting levels of anthropogenic disturbance and health status. Using massive parallel 16SrDNA gene pyrosequencing we showed that the bacterial community associated with healthy P. clavata in pristine locations was dominated by a single genus Endozoicomonas within the order Oceanospirillales which represented ∼90% of the overall bacterial community. P. clavata samples collected in human impacted areas and during disease events had higher bacterial diversity and abundance of disease-related bacteria, such as vibrios, than samples collected in pristine locations whilst showed a reduced dominance of Endozoicomonas spp. In contrast, bacterial symbionts exhibited remarkable stability in P. clavata collected both at euphotic and mesophotic depths in pristine locations suggesting that fluctuations in environmental parameters such as temperature have limited effect in structuring the bacterial holobiont. Interestingly the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus was not found on diseased corals collected during a deep mortality episode suggesting that neither temperature anomalies nor recognized microbial pathogens are solely sufficient to explain for the events. Overall our data suggest that anthropogenic influence may play a significant role in

  13. 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

  14. Identification of a consistent polyene component of purple pigment in diseased sclerites of Caribbean corals across region, species, and insult agent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fetterolf, Monty L.; Leverette, Chad L.; Perez, Christopher; Smith, Garriet W.

    2017-10-01

    Gorgonians respond to insult (damage and disease) by producing sclerites containing a purple pigment as opposed to the normal white sclerites. Raman microscopy is used to study the purple areas of three species of diseased coral, Gorgonia ventalina, Pseudoplexaura porosa, and Eunicea laciniata obtained from Puerto Rico. These spectra were compared to Gorgonia ventalina samples previously reported that were obtained from San Salvador, Bahamas. Spectra from two samples of G. ventalina that had been infected by different agents, Aspergillus sydowii and a slime mold, were also obtained. The results indicate that the purple compounds (polyenes) generated by the coral in response to infection are similar regardless of region from which the coral were harvested, of species of coral, and of the infective agent. A discussion of the Raman spectra of G. ventalina and the other coral species is presented.

  15. 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.

  16. Reproductive cycle and trophic ecology in deep versus shallow populations of the Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis (Cap de Creus, northwestern Mediterranean Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gori, A.; Viladrich, N.; Gili, J.-M.; Kotta, M.; Cucio, C.; Magni, L.; Bramanti, L.; Rossi, S.

    2012-09-01

    The annual gonad development of a shallow (20 m depth) population of the Mediterranean gorgonian Eunicella singularis was found to be closely synchronized with that of a deep (60 m depth) population, but differences were observed in the gonadal output, with the shallow population producing more and larger sexual products. Lipid content in the shallow population showed a marked seasonality, peaking during summer. In contrast, lipid content remained persistently lower in the deep population. Fatty acids as well as C/N composition were also seasonal in the shallow population and more constant in the deep one. The isotopic composition (δ15N and δ13C) of the shallow colonies was similar to values observed for passive suspension feeders with symbiotic algae, whereas the deep colonies exhibited values similar to those of aposymbiotic passive suspension feeders that primarily feed on microzooplankton and particulate organic matter. These results highlight the importance of considering the depth-related variability among populations in order to achieve a better understanding of the ecology of sessile benthic suspension feeders.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Yamashiro, Hideyuki; Mikame, Yurika; Suzuki, Hidekazu

    2012-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Measuring coral size-frequency distribution using stereo video technology, a comparison with in situ measurements.

    PubMed

    Turner, Joseph A; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Field, Stuart N; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-05-01

    Coral colony size-frequency distribution data offer valuable information about the ecological status of coral reefs. Such data are usually collected by divers in situ, but stereo video is being increasingly used for monitoring benthic marine communities and may be used to collect size information for coral colonies. This study compared the size-frequency distributions of coral colonies obtained by divers measuring colonies 'in situ' with digital video imagery collected using stereo video and later processed using computer software. The size-frequency distributions of the two methods were similar for corymbose colonies, although distributions were different for massive, branching and all colonies combined. The differences are mainly driven by greater abundance of colonies >50 cm and fewer colonies <10 cm recorded when using the in situ method. The stereo video method detected 93% of marked colonies >5 cm and was able to record measurements on 87% of the colonies detected. However, stereo video only detected 57% of marked colonies <5 cm, suggesting that this method may be unsuitable for assessing abundance of coral recruits. Estimates of colony size made with the stereo video were smaller than the in situ technique for all growth forms, particularly for massive morphologies. Despite differences in size distributions, community assessments, which incorporated genera, growth forms and size, were similar between the two techniques. Stereo video is suitable for monitoring coral community demographics and provided data similar to in situ measure for corymbose corals, but the ability to accurately measure massive and branching coral morphologies appeared to decline with increasing colony size.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Unprecedented Disease-Related Coral Mortality in Southeastern Florida

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-26

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Alkaloids and Sesquiterpenes from the South China Sea Gorgonian Echinogorgia pseudossapo

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:22163197

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-28

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    The past few decades have seen an increase in the frequency and intensity of disturbance on coral reefs, resulting in shifts in size and composition of coral populations. These changes have lead to a renewed focus on processes that influence demographic rates in corals, such as corallivory. While previous research indicates selective corallivory among coral taxa, the importance of coral size and the density of coral colonies in influencing corallivory are unknown. We surveyed the size, taxonomy and number of bites by parrotfish per colony of corals and the abundance of three main corallivorous parrotfish (Sparisoma viride, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, Scarus vetula) at multiple spatial scales (reefs within islands: 1-100 km, and between islands: >100 km) within the Bahamas Archipelago. We used a linear mixed model to determine the influence of coral taxa, colony size, colony density, and parrotfish abundance on the intensity of corallivory (bites per m(2) of coral tissue). While the effect of colony density was significant in determining the intensity of corallivory, we found no significant influence of colony size or parrotfish abundance (density, biomass or community structure). Parrotfish bites were most frequently observed on the dominant species of reef building corals (Montastraea annularis, Montastraea faveolata and Porites astreoides), yet our results indicate that when the confounding effects of colony density and size were removed, selective corallivory existed only for the less dominant Porites porites. As changes in disturbance regimes result in the decline of dominant frame-work building corals such as Montastraea spp., the projected success of P. porites on Caribbean reefs through high reproductive output, resistance to disease and rapid growth rates may be attenuated through selective corallivory by parrotfish.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  11. Bacterial profiling of White Plague Disease in a comparative coral species framework.

    PubMed

    Roder, Cornelia; Arif, Chatchanit; Bayer, Till; Aranda, Manuel; Daniels, Camille; Shibl, Ahmed; Chavanich, Suchana; Voolstra, Christian R

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are threatened throughout the world. A major factor contributing to their decline is outbreaks and propagation of coral diseases. Due to the complexity of coral-associated microbe communities, little is understood in terms of disease agents, hosts and vectors. It is known that compromised health in corals is correlated with shifts in bacterial assemblages colonizing coral mucus and tissue. However, general disease patterns remain, to a large extent, ambiguous as comparative studies over species, regions, or diseases are scarce. Here, we compare bacterial assemblages of samples from healthy (HH) colonies and such displaying signs of White Plague Disease (WPD) of two different coral species (Pavona duerdeni and Porites lutea) from the same reef in Koh Tao, Thailand, using 16S rRNA gene microarrays. In line with other studies, we found an increase of bacterial diversity in diseased (DD) corals, and a higher abundance of taxa from the families that include known coral pathogens (Alteromonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Vibrionaceae). In our comparative framework analysis, we found differences in microbial assemblages between coral species and coral health states. Notably, patterns of bacterial community structures from HH and DD corals were maintained over species boundaries. Moreover, microbes that differentiated the two coral species did not overlap with microbes that were indicative of HH and DD corals. This suggests that while corals harbor distinct species-specific microbial assemblages, disease-specific bacterial abundance patterns exist that are maintained over coral species boundaries.

  12. Coral architecture affects the habitat choice and form of associated gobiid fishes.

    PubMed

    Untersteggaber, Lucien; Mitteroecker, Philipp; Herler, Juergen

    2014-01-01

    Gobiid fishes of the genus Gobiodon live in strong association with certain reef-building corals that vary considerably in size and architecture. These fishes hence are excellent model systems for studying evolutionary adaption to specific microhabitats. Using a sample of Gobiodon histrio and G. rivulatus and their most important host corals (Acropora digitifera and A. gemmifera) from the northern Red Sea, we assess (1) how corals that are occupied by gobies differ in their architecture from colonies that are not occupied and (2) how fish body shape is associated with the architecture of their host coral. Fish body shape was assessed by geometric morphometric techniques. Coral measurements included colony size, branch length (BL), and interbranch as well as branch tip distance of adjacent branches, for which we applied a new and non-destructive measurement technique based on casts of two-component epoxy resin. The most important factor influencing the occupation of corals was a BL of more than 5 cm. The distance between coral branches was clearly related to the width of the fishes and hence constrained overall fish size. G. histrio and G.rivulatus differ in adult body shape as well in their allometric development of lateral body compression, resulting in different maximum body sizes attainable in the restricted interbranch space of corals. The strong dependence of coral-associated fishes on large coral colonies with specific architectures increases the extinction risk of fishes within deteriorating coral reefs.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-07

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

  18. 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].

  19. 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.

  20. Health status of corals surrounding Kish Island, Persian Gulf.

    PubMed

    Alidoost Salimi, Mahsa; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Fatemi, Seyyed Mohammad; Aeby, Greta S

    2017-03-30

    Corals in the Persian Gulf exist in a harsh environment with extreme temperature and salinity fluctuations. Understanding the health of these hardy corals may prove useful for predicting the survival of other marine organisms facing the impacts of global climate change. In this study, the health state of corals was surveyed along belt transects at 4 sites on the east side of Kish Island, Iran. Corals had a patchy distribution, low colony densities and species diversity, and were dominated by Acropora, Porites, and Dipsastrea. We found chronic sedimentation on corals, a high prevalence of old partial mortality, abundant bioeroders, and overgrowth of corals by sponges and bryozoans. These are all signs indicating suboptimal environmental conditions for coral reefs. Four types of tissue loss lesions consistent with disease were found: Porites multi-focal chronic tissue loss, Porites peeling tissue loss, Porites focal chronic tissue loss, and Dipsastrea focal sub-acute tissue loss. Overall disease prevalence was 3.6% and there were significant differences in prevalence among the 3 most abundant coral genera. Acropora was numerically dominant within transects yet showed no signs of disease, whereas Porites had a 14% disease prevalence, indicating differential susceptibility to disease among genera. Other coral lesions included pigmentation response in Porites associated with algae invasion or boring organisms, sponge overgrowth, and mucus sheathing in Dipsastrea. The Persian Gulf region is understudied, and this represents one of the first quantitative surveys of coral health and disease on these reefs.

  1. Coral diseases near Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas: patterns and potential drivers.

    PubMed

    Voss, Joshua D; Richardson, Laurie L

    2006-03-23

    The number of coral diseases, coral species they infect, number of reported cases, and range over which these diseases are distributed have all increased dramatically in the past 3 decades, posing a serious threat to coral reef ecosystems worldwide. While some published studies provide data on the distribution of coral diseases at local and regional levels, few studies have addressed the factors that may drive these distributions. We recorded coral disease occurrence, prevalence, and severity along with temperature, sedimentation, and coral population data (species abundance and colony size) over 2 consecutive summers on reefs near Lee Stocking Island (LSI) in the Bahamas' Exuma Chain. In 2002 a total of 11092 coral colonies (all species present) were examined within a survey area of 9420 m2, and 13 973 colonies within 10 362 m2 in 2003. Similar to other reports, relatively large, framework species including Siderastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, and Montastraea annularis, along with the smaller Dichocoenia stokesi, were the species most susceptible to coral disease. Recurring infections were observed on individual colonies from 2002 to 2003, and were more likely for black band disease (BBD) than for either white plague (WP) or dark spots syndrome (DS). In 2002, WP and DS demonstrated clumped distributions, while BBD was randomly distributed. However, in 2003 BBD and WP were clumped. This is the first study, to our knowledge, that quantitatively documents coral disease dynamics on reefs surrounding LSI.

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  6. Effects of acidified seawater on coral calcification and symbiotic algae on the massive coral Porites australiensis.

    PubMed

    Iguchi, Akira; Ozaki, Saori; Nakamura, Takashi; Inoue, Mayuri; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Sakai, Kazuhiko

    2012-02-01

    We investigated the effect of acidified seawater on calcification and symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll content per single algal cell, fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm)) on a massive coral, Porites australiensis, a common species in the Ryukyu Archipelago of Japan. We found that acidified seawater significantly decreased the calcification and fluorescence yield, but did not affect zooxanthellae density and chlorophyll content per single algal cell. This indicates low levels of photoacclimation to acidified seawater in this species, and this is contrary to the findings of previous studies of Acropora species. A significant correlation between calcification and fluorescence yield was observed, indicating the presence of a strong relationship between calcification and algal photosynthesis. Our results indicate that endosymbiont photosynthetic dysfunction may enhance the decrease of coral calcification in future acidified ocean conditions. Calcification and fluorescence yield among colonies clearly differed, showing that the response to acidified seawater is highly variable among colonies in natural coral populations. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Trace Metal Record of a 200-Year-Old Deep-Sea Bamboo Coral (Isidella sp.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hornung, J. P.; Mix, A. C.; Tepley, F. J.; Kent, A. J.; Wakefield, W. W.

    2009-12-01

    High resolution records of past oceanic conditions can be constructed from the annually secreted calcite laminations of deep-sea gorgonian corals. Previous research has shown that deep-sea gorgonians incorporate both surface organic matter and nutrients from the surrounding water into their coral skeleton, making them ideal recorders of long-term ocean variability of surface and intermediate water. In this study we examined a 200-year-old bamboo coral (Isidella sp.) that was live collected by bottom trawl in the summer of 2000 on the Oregon continental margin at a water depth of 1148m. We explored how annual changes in upwelling strength, circulation and surface productivity are reflected in the trace metal concentrations recorded in the carbonate skeleton of the bamboo coral. To determine trace metal concentrations, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was employed at a resolution of 10microns on multiple radial transects of the coral cross section. Minor element abundances were determined on the same transects by electron microprobe (EMP) analysis. We constructed an age model by counting peaks in the ratio of magnesium to calcium abundances obtained from the EMP. Uranium series dating methods were then used to verify the age model. The concentrations of phosphorus (P), barium (Ba) and cadmium (Cd) showed considerable variation through time. Initial time series data of phosphorus to calcium (P/Ca) ratios indicates strong variability at the decadal scale, potentially reflecting varying nutrient availability. Cadmium to calcium (Cd/Ca) ratios also showed strong variability at the decadal scale. However, periods of increased P/Ca did not always correspond to elevated Cd/Ca, suggesting that P and Cd concentrations were not controlled by the same processes. The record of barium to calcium (Ba/Ca) ratios was poorly correlated to both P/Ca and Cd/Ca and showed irregular episodes of increased Ba/Ca. These irregular episodes may indicate disturbance

  8. Reef scent: How brooded coral larvae from a tough coral smell their way to a new home

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spies, N.; Richmond, R. H.; Seneca, F.; Murphy, J.; Martinez, J.; Lyman, A.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are highly diverse marine ecosystems of ecological, economic, and cultural value. With the expected negative effects on reefs from global climate change including rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, the identification of resilient coral species has become increasingly important. Leptastrea purpurea is an encrusting coral that is found throughout the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. While most corals are broadcast spawners, releasing sperm and eggs to be fertilized in the water column, some corals brood embryos within their tissues after internal fertilization. L. purpurea appears to release planula larvae on a continuous basis from the parent colony as observed during two years of monitoring. The planula larvae show remarkable resilience under a wide range of stressful conditions including temperature, sediment, and chemical stressors, as well as the ability to successfully settle and metamorphose after 180 days in controlled laboratory conditions. Various smells were tested to identify a settlement cue for L. purpurea larvae, and our results suggest that the smell associated with other coral colonies induce larval settlement and metamorphosis. Knowledge of the settlement cues and reproductive biology of this coral is important to our understanding of coral resilience in the face of anthropogenic perturbation.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    2013-04-05

    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.

  12. Symbiodinium Clade Affects Coral Skeletal Isotopic Ratio

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Chemistry and Bioactivity of Briaranes from the South China Sea Gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Seven new briarane diterpenoids, gemmacolides AZ–BF (1–7), were isolated together with eight known analogues (8–15) from the South China gorgonian Dichotella gemmacea. Their structures were elucidated based on detailed spectroscopic analysis and a comparison with reported data. In an in vitro bioassay, these compounds exhibited different levels of growth inhibition activity against A549 and MG63 cells, giving continuous evidences about the biological contribution of functional groups at C-2, C-12, C-13, and C-16. These compounds were also evaluated for their antibacterial and antifungal activities. Compound 8 exhibited a potential antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus megaterium and Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli. PMID:27801821

  16. Two benzaldehyde derivatives and their artefacts from a gorgonian-derived Eurotium sp. fungus.

    PubMed

    Chen, Min; Zhao, Qing; Hao, Jun-Di; Wang, Chang-Yun

    2017-02-01

    Two new benzaldehyde derivatives, named 3'-OH-tetrahydroauroglaucin (1) and(3'S*,4'R*)-6-(3',5-epoxy-4'-hydroxy-1'-heptenyl)-2-hydroxy-3-(3''-methyl-2''-butenyl)benzaldehyde (2), were isolated from a gorgonian-derived Eurotium sp. fungus. Their structures were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis including NMR and MS spectra. Dissolved 1 in CDCl3 for several days could be detected its 2H-chromene skeleton derivatives (1a/1b), a pair of enantiomers with opposite configurations at C-3'. Compound 2 was also found to chemically convert to a pair of epimers non-enzymatically. The plausible mechanism to form the 2H-chromene artefacts with racemisation at C-3' undergoing nucleophilic substitution (SN1) was proposed.

  17. 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).

  18. Radiocarbon variability in modern deep-sea bamboo coral skeletons from the North Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, J. R.; Hoenisch, B.; Robinson, L. F.

    2013-12-01

    Geochemical records from modern and recent deep-sea corals can provide new opportunities for understanding how changes in intermediate to deep ocean chemistry and circulation relate to climatic changes during the Common Era. Of critical importance for such comparisons are well-constrained coral growth rates (and hence chronology). Bamboo coral specimens of the genus Keratoisis are widely distributed in the modern oceans, but their calcitic skeletons exhibit open system U-Th behavior and many specimens show obscure growth banding, limiting available techniques for growth rate determinations. We measured radial transects of radiocarbon across the skeletons of six Keratoisis specimens that were live-collected in the northwestern North Atlantic Ocean between 1879 and 2005. Initial results show that Δ14C from the outer surface of three modern corals is within error of seawater Δ14C estimates at the site of coral collection from GLODAP. Most specimens show increasing 14C age toward the coral center, implying near-linear growth rates of 40 to 60 μm/14C year that are consistent with growth rates for North Atlantic Keratoisis specimens established by skeletal 210Pb and organic (gorgonian) 14C measurements. However, other specimens show radiocarbon variability that precludes accurate growth rate determinations for parts of the skeleton. In particular, multiple specimens exhibit systematic radiocarbon age reversals within 1-3 mm of the central growth axis, which is assumed to be the ontogenetically oldest part of the skeleton. This observation is consistent with previously published records of elevated unsupported 210Pb around the central growth axis of some North Atlantic Keratoisis specimens. We discuss potential physical and biological causes for the observed radiocarbon variability and implications for accurate growth rate determinations for bamboo coral skeletons.

  19. Boron isotopes in deep-sea bamboo corals: pH, vital effects and environmental factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, J. R.; Hoenisch, B.; Hill, T. M.; LaVigne, M.; Robinson, L. F.

    2011-12-01

    Deep-sea corals are an intriguing archive for reconstructing deep-ocean environmental conditions, in particular with regard to anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification. However, previous research in deep-sea aragonitic scleractinian corals observed heterogeneity in their geochemical composition that greatly exceeded the magnitude of variability expected from environmental conditions. Here we investigate the boron isotopic composition (δ11B) and B/Ca ratios of the calcitic gorgonian bamboo coral Keratoisis sp. (family Isididae) as potential indicators of seawater-pH at depth. Initial results from a specimen collected alive on Little Joe Seamount, CA (2136m depth) show that the δ11B of surface calcite is within the expected range of aqueous borate-δ11B, based on seawater pH, temperature, pressure and salinity. A radial cross section through an ~5 cm thick internode reveals largely homogeneous δ11B. However, in the centermost 0.5 cm of calcite growth adjacent to the axial core of the coral, a ~2% increase in δ11B corresponds with disequilibrium depletions in δ13C and δ18O, consistent with hypotheses for different growth modes of central calcite perhaps as a result of active calcite deposition along the axial core. Aside from this central region, the geochemical homogeneity and good agreement between coral surface δ11B and seawater borate δ11B suggests that bamboo corals may record deep-ocean carbon chemistry and thus pH. The cosmopolitan distribution of Keratoisis sp. in both living and fossil deep-sea coral communities thus potentially presents the opportunity to reconstruct recent and Holocene deep-water pH at high resolution.

  20. Ancient DNA from Coral-Hosted Symbiodinium Reveal a Static Mutualism over the Last 172 Years

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Ancient DNA (aDNA) provides powerful evidence for detecting the genetic basis for adaptation to environmental change in many taxa. Among the greatest of changes in our biosphere within the last century is rapid anthropogenic ocean warming. This phenomenon threatens corals with extinction, evidenced by the increasing observation of widespread mortality following mass bleaching events. There is some evidence and conjecture that coral-dinoflagellate symbioses change partnerships in response to changing external conditions over ecological and evolutionary timescales. Until now, we have been unable to ascertain the genetic identity of Symbiodinium hosted by corals prior to the rapid global change of the last century. Here, we show that Symbiodinium cells recovered from dry, century old specimens of 6 host species of octocorals contain sufficient DNA for amplification of the ITS2 subregion of the nuclear ribosomal DNA, commonly used for genotyping within this genus. Through comparisons with modern specimens sampled from similar locales we show that symbiotic associations among several species have been static over the last century, thereby suggesting that adaptive shifts to novel symbiont types is not common among these gorgonians, and perhaps, symbiotic corals in general. PMID:23405111

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. [Effect of herbivorous and corallivorous fishes on the survival of transplanted corals in the Colombian Caribbean].

    PubMed

    Chasqui-Velasco, Luis; Alvarado Ch, Elvira; Acero, Arturo; Zapata, Fernando A

    2007-01-01

    To examine the effects of herbivorous and corallivorous fishes on the survival of transplanted colonies of Montastraea annularis, Diploria labyrinthiformis and Porites astreoides, both transplanted and native colonies were full-cage enclosed and compared to open (uncaged) colonies, while caging effects were assessed with a partial-cage (roof treatment). To evaluate if transplant stress increased the corals availability to fish predation, comparisons of fish foraging intensity among transplanted versus native colonies were made. To determine the density of herbivorous and corallivorous fishes on the transplants area visual censuses were made. The transient herbivorous fishes (Scaridae and Acanthuridae) were the most abundant fishes, and the corallivorous fishes (mainly Chaetodontidae) were the scarcest. A negative effect of territorial herbivorous fishes on M annularis transplants survival was observed, mainly early on the study. Fish foraging intensity was similar on transplanted and native colonies, but differed among coral species, being lowest on D. labyrinthiformis. Fast macroalgal growth inside full-cages due to reduced fish grazing was observed. This caused partial bleaching and partial mortality in some colonies, mainly of P. astreoides. No significant difference in healthy tissue percentages among full-cage and uncaged colonies on M. annularis and D. labyrinthiformis was found, while in P. astreoides there were evilent differences. The results indicate a damselfish negative effect on transplants survival early on the study, which can change depending on the fish and coral species involved. Results also indicate a fish grazing positive effect, caused by the reduction of coral-algae competition pressure, mainly on P. astreoides. Parrotfishes seem to affect corals survival both negatively through direct biting, and positively by controlling algal growth. Overall, coral transplant success was almost unaffected by fish foraging activity although several

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  5. 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...

  6. Growth-rate influences on coral climate proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Patterns of morphological integration in marine modular organisms: supra-module organization in branching octocoral colonies.

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez, Juan Armando; Lasker, Howard R

    2003-01-01

    Despite the relative simplicity of their modular growth, marine invertebrates such as arborescent gorgonian octocorals (Octocorallia: Cnidaria) generate complex colonial forms. Colony form in these taxa is a consequence of modular (polyp) replication, and if there is a tight integration among modular and supramodular traits (e.g. polyp aperture, inter-polyp spacing, branch thickness, internode and branch length), then changes at the module level may lead to changes in colony architecture. Alternatively, different groups of traits may evolve semi-independently (or conditionally independent). To examine the patterns of integration among morphological traits in Caribbean octocorals, we compared five morphological traits across 21 species, correcting for the effects of phylogenetic relationships among the taxa. Graphical modelling and phylogenetic independence contrasts among the five morphological characters indicate two groups of integrated traits based on whether they were polyp- or colony-level traits. Although all characters exhibited bivariate associations, multivariate analyses (partial correlation coefficients) showed the strongest integration among the colony-level characters (internode distance and branch length). It is a quantitative demonstration that branching characters within the octocorals studied are independent of characters of the polyps. Despite the universally recognized modularity of octocorals at the level of polyps, branching during colony development may represent an emergent level of integration and modularity. PMID:14561292

  11. Fine structure analysis of black band disease (BBD) infected coral and coral exposed to the BBD toxins microcystin and sulfide.

    PubMed

    Miller, Aaron W; Richardson, Laurie L

    2012-01-01

    Black band disease (BBD) of corals is a complex pathogenic polymicrobial mat community that lyses coral tissue as it migrates over an infected colony. Two known toxins are produced by BBD microorganisms - sulfide, produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria, and microcystin, produced by cyanobacteria. Experiments were carried out to determine the effects of exposing healthy coral fragments to variable concentrations of purified microcystin, sulfide at a concentration known to exist in BBD, and a combination of the two. Healthy fragments of the coral Montastraea annularis were placed into experimental chambers with known toxin/s for 18-22.5 h. Fine structural analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that toxin exposure resulted in thinning or removal of the coral epidermal layer coupled with degradation of the gastrodermis. These effects were exacerbated when both toxins were used in combination. Exposure to sulfide and the highest concentration of microcystin caused zooxanthellae to dissociate from the coral tissue and to form clusters on the coral surface. Examination of coral fragments infected with BBD was carried out for comparison. It was determined that the effects of exposure to sulfide and microcystin on coral fine structure were consistent, both quantitatively and qualitatively, with the effects of artificially induced and naturally occurring BBD on M. annularis. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  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. Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Massive and Branching Scleractinian Corals and Potential Linkages to Coral Susceptibility to Thermal or Cold Stress.

    PubMed

    Liang, Jiayuan; Yu, Kefu; Wang, Yinghui; Huang, Xueyong; Huang, Wen; Qin, Zhenjun; Pan, Ziliang; Yao, Qiucui; Wang, Wenhuan; Wu, Zhengchao

    2017-01-01

    It is well known that different coral species have different tolerances to thermal or cold stress, which is presumed to be related to the density of Symbiodinium. However, the intrinsic factors between stress-tolerant characteristics and coral-associated bacteria are rarely studied. In this study, 16 massive coral and 9 branching coral colonies from 6 families, 10 genera, and 18 species were collected at the same time and location (Xinyi Reef) in the South China Sea to investigate the bacterial communities. The results of an alpha diversity analysis showed that bacterial diversities associated with massive corals were generally higher than those with branching corals at different taxonomic levels (phylum, class, order, and so on). In addition, hierarchical clustering tree and PCoA analyses showed that coral species were clustered into two large groups according to the similarity of bacterial communities. Group I consisted of massive Goniastrea, Plesiastrea, Leptastrea, Platygyra, Echinopora, Porites, and Leptoria, and group II consisted of branching Acropora and Pocillopora. These findings suggested that both massive corals and branching corals have their own preference for the choice of associated bacteria, which may be involved in observed differences in thermal/cold tolerances. Further analysis found that 55 bacterial phyla, including 43 formally described phyla and 12 candidate phyla, were detected in these coral species. Among them, 52 phyla were recovered from the massive coral group, and 46 phyla were recovered from the branching coral group. Formally described coral pathogens have not been detected in these coral species, suggesting that they are less likely to be threatened by disease in this geographic area. This study highlights a clear relationship between the high complexity of bacterial community associated with coral, skeletal morphology of coral and potentially tolerances to thermal or cold stress.

  14. 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.

  15. The coral probiotic hypothesis.

    PubMed

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

    2006-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  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. Coral overgrowth by an encrusting red alga ( Ramicrusta sp.): a threat to Caribbean reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eckrich, Caren E.; Engel, M. Sabine

    2013-03-01

    An encrusting red alga ( Ramicrusta sp., Peyssonneliaceae) present in Lac Bay, Bonaire, overgrows and kills corals and other sessile organisms. Living coral tissue comprises 7.2 % of the benthic composition of the shallow reef, while Ramicrusta sp. covers 18.7 % of the substratum. Of 1374 coral colonies surveyed, 45.8 % were partially overgrown by Ramicrusta sp., with P. porites, P. astreoides and M. complanata being the most susceptible to overgrowth. Mean Ramicrusta sp. maximum overgrowth rates ± SD were 0.08 ± 0.05 mm d-1, 0.07 ± 0.03 mm d-1 and 0.06 ± 0.02 mm d-1 for M. complanata, P. porites and P. astreoides, respectively. None of the 71 coral recruits surveyed were growing on Ramicrusta sp. Ramicrusta sp. is an immediate threat to corals, reduces the area of suitable substratum for coral settlement and may have the ability to influence coral species composition.

  20. Skeletal extension and calcification of reef-building corals in the central Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Morgan, K M; Kench, P S

    2012-10-01

    Skeletal extension, density and calcification rate of 12 scleractinian coral species comprising 7 morphological groups were examined on the reef crest of Vabbinfaru platform, Maldives. Growth rates of coral specimens were measured over the period of February 2010-March 2011 using alizarin staining and direct measurements. Skeletal extension rate was highly variable between coral species. Colony morphology was a major control on the skeletal extension and calcification of coral specimens. Growth rates of Acropora and Porites corals were comparable to existing data recorded for Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reef provinces. Skeletal density was less variable between species and was typically consistent among morphological groups. Findings represent the first estimates of coral growth in the central Indian Ocean region and add to the limited growth studies available that have examined a broad range of coral growth morphologies in other reef-building regions. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of multicellular isolates from a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis.

    PubMed

    Domart-Coulon, I J; Elbert, D C; Scully, E P; Calimlim, P S; Ostrander, G K

    2001-10-09

    The foundation of marine coral reef ecosystems is calcium carbonate accumulated primarily by the action of hard corals (Coelenterata: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Colonial hard coral polyps cover the surface of the reef and deposit calcium carbonate as the aragonite polymorph, stabilized into a continuous calcareous skeleton. Scleractinian coral skeleton composition and architecture are well documented; however, the cellular mechanisms of calcification are poorly understood. There is little information on the nature of the coral cell types involved or their cooperation in biocalcification. We report aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis. Cells of apical coral colony fragments were isolated by spontaneous in vitro dissociation. Single dissociated cell types were separated by density in a discontinuous Percoll gradient. Primary cell cultures displayed a transient increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, to the level observed in intact corals. In adherent multicellular isolate cultures, enzyme activation was followed by precipitation of aragonite. Modification of the ionic formulation of the medium prolonged maintenance of isolates, delayed ALP activation, and delayed aragonite precipitation. These results demonstrate that in vitro crystallization of aragonite in coral cell cultures is possible, and provides an innovative approach to investigate reef-building coral calcification at the cellular level.

  3. Aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of multicellular isolates from a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis

    PubMed Central

    Domart-Coulon, Isabelle J.; Elbert, David C.; Scully, Erik P.; Calimlim, Precilia S.; Ostrander, Gary K.

    2001-01-01

    The foundation of marine coral reef ecosystems is calcium carbonate accumulated primarily by the action of hard corals (Coelenterata: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Colonial hard coral polyps cover the surface of the reef and deposit calcium carbonate as the aragonite polymorph, stabilized into a continuous calcareous skeleton. Scleractinian coral skeleton composition and architecture are well documented; however, the cellular mechanisms of calcification are poorly understood. There is little information on the nature of the coral cell types involved or their cooperation in biocalcification. We report aragonite crystallization in primary cell cultures of a hard coral, Pocillopora damicornis. Cells of apical coral colony fragments were isolated by spontaneous in vitro dissociation. Single dissociated cell types were separated by density in a discontinuous Percoll gradient. Primary cell cultures displayed a transient increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, to the level observed in intact corals. In adherent multicellular isolate cultures, enzyme activation was followed by precipitation of aragonite. Modification of the ionic formulation of the medium prolonged maintenance of isolates, delayed ALP activation, and delayed aragonite precipitation. These results demonstrate that in vitro crystallization of aragonite in coral cell cultures is possible, and provides an innovative approach to investigate reef-building coral calcification at the cellular level. PMID:11593000

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Upwelling, species, and depth effects on coral skeletal cadmium-to-calcium ratios (Cd/Ca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matthews, Kathryn A.; Grottoli, Andréa G.; McDonough, William F.; Palardy, James E.

    2008-09-01

    Skeletal cadmium-to-calcium (Cd/Ca) ratios in hermatypic stony corals have been used to reconstruct changes in upwelling over time, yet there has not been a systematic evaluation of this tracer's natural variability within and among coral species, between depths and across environmental conditions. Here, coral skeletal Cd/Ca ratios were measured in multiple colonies of Pavona clavus, Pavona gigantea and Porites lobata reared at two depths (1 and 7 m) during both upwelling and nonupwelling intervals in the Gulf of Panama (Pacific). Overall, skeletal Cd/Ca ratios were significantly higher during upwelling than during nonupwelling, in shallow than in deep corals, and in both species of Pavona than in P. lobata. P. lobata skeletal Cd/Ca ratios were uniformly low compared to those in the other species, with no significant differences between upwelling and nonupwelling values. Among colonies of the same species, skeletal Cd/Ca ratios were always higher in all shallow P. gigantea colonies during upwelling compared to nonupwelling, though the magnitude of the increase varied among colonies. For P. lobata, P. clavus and deep P. gigantea, changes in skeletal Cd/Ca ratios were not consistent among all colonies, with some colonies having lower ratios during upwelling than during nonupwelling. No statistically significant relationships were found between skeletal Cd/Ca ratios and maximum linear skeletal extension, δ 13C or δ 18O, suggesting that at seasonal resolution the Cd/Ca signal was decoupled from growth rate, coral metabolism, and ocean temperature and salinity, respectively. These results led to the following conclusions, (1) coral skeletal Cd/Ca ratios are independent of skeletal extension, coral metabolism and ambient temperature/salinity, (2) shallow P. gigantea is the most reliable species for paleoupwelling reconstruction and (3) the average Cd/Ca record of several colonies, rather than of a single coral, is needed to reliably reconstruct paleoupwelling events.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-01

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

  8. Collection methods and descriptions of coral cores extracted from massive corals in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weinzierl, Michael S.; Reich, Christopher D.; Hickey, T. Donald; Bartlett, Lucy A.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-11-29

    Cores from living coral colonies were collected from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A., to obtain skeletal records of past coral growth and allow geochemical reconstruction of environmental variables during the corals’ centuries-long lifespans. The samples were collected as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http:/coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest) that provides science to assist resource managers tasked with the stewardship of coral reef resources. Three colonies each of the coral species Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were collected in May 2012 using the methods described herein and as approved under National Park Service scientific collecting permit number DRTO-2012-SCI-0001 and are cataloged under accession number DRTO-353. These coral samples can be used to retroactively construct environmental parameters, including sea-surface temperature, by measuring the elemental composition of the coral skeleton. The cores described here, and others (see http://olga.er.usgs.gov/coreviewer/), can be requested, on loan, for scientific study. Photographic images for each coral in its ocean environment, the coral cores as curated and slabbed, and the X-rays of the slabs can be found in an associated U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Benthic community structure on coral reefs exposed to intensive recreational snorkeling

    PubMed Central

    Renfro, Bobbie

    2017-01-01

    Chronic anthropogenic disturbances on coral reefs in the form of overfishing and pollution can shift benthic community composition away from stony corals and toward macroalgae. The use of reefs for recreational snorkeling and diving potentially can lead to similar ecological impacts if not well-managed, but impacts of snorkeling on benthic organisms are not well understood. We quantified variation in benthic community structure along a gradient of snorkeling frequency in an intensively-visited portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We determined rates of snorkeling in 6 water sections and rates of beach visitation in 4 adjacent land sections at Akumal Bay, Mexico. For each in-water section at 1–3 m depth, we also assessed the percent cover of benthic organisms including taxa of stony corals and macroalgae. Rates of recreational snorkeling varied from low in the southwestern to very high (>1000 snorkelers d-1) in the northeastern sections of the bay. Stony coral cover decreased and macroalgal cover increased significantly with levels of snorkeling, while trends varied among taxa for other organisms such as gorgonians, fire corals, and sea urchins. We conclude that benthic organisms appear to exhibit taxon-specific variation with levels of recreational snorkeling. To prevent further degradation, we recommend limitation of snorkeler visitation rates, coupled with visitor education and in-water guides to reduce reef-damaging behaviors by snorkelers in high-use areas. These types of management activities, integrated with reef monitoring and subsequent readjustment of management, have the potential to reverse the damage potentially inflicted on coral reefs by the expansion of reef-based recreational snorkeling. PMID:28873449

  14. Benthic community structure on coral reefs exposed to intensive recreational snorkeling.

    PubMed

    Renfro, Bobbie; Chadwick, Nanette E

    2017-01-01

    Chronic anthropogenic disturbances on coral reefs in the form of overfishing and pollution can shift benthic community composition away from stony corals and toward macroalgae. The use of reefs for recreational snorkeling and diving potentially can lead to similar ecological impacts if not well-managed, but impacts of snorkeling on benthic organisms are not well understood. We quantified variation in benthic community structure along a gradient of snorkeling frequency in an intensively-visited portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We determined rates of snorkeling in 6 water sections and rates of beach visitation in 4 adjacent land sections at Akumal Bay, Mexico. For each in-water section at 1-3 m depth, we also assessed the percent cover of benthic organisms including taxa of stony corals and macroalgae. Rates of recreational snorkeling varied from low in the southwestern to very high (>1000 snorkelers d-1) in the northeastern sections of the bay. Stony coral cover decreased and macroalgal cover increased significantly with levels of snorkeling, while trends varied among taxa for other organisms such as gorgonians, fire corals, and sea urchins. We conclude that benthic organisms appear to exhibit taxon-specific variation with levels of recreational snorkeling. To prevent further degradation, we recommend limitation of snorkeler visitation rates, coupled with visitor education and in-water guides to reduce reef-damaging behaviors by snorkelers in high-use areas. These types of management activities, integrated with reef monitoring and subsequent readjustment of management, have the potential to reverse the damage potentially inflicted on coral reefs by the expansion of reef-based recreational snorkeling.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. Changes in bleaching susceptibility among corals subject to ocean warming and recurrent bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia.

    PubMed

    Pratchett, Morgan S; McCowan, Dominique; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Heron, Scott F

    2013-01-01

    Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems, mostly because of the sensitivities of key habitat-forming corals to increasing temperature. However, susceptibility to bleaching varies greatly among coral genera and there are likely to be major changes in the relative abundance of different corals, even if the wholesale loss of corals does not occur for several decades. Here we document variation in bleaching susceptibility among key genera of reef-building corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, and compare bleaching incidence during mass-bleaching events documented in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2007. This study compared the proportion of colonies that bleached for four major genera of reef-building corals (Acropora, Montipora, Pocillopora and Porites), during each of four well-documented bleaching events from 1991 to 2007. Acropora and Montipora consistently bleached in far greater proportions (up to 98%) than Pocillopora and Porites. However, there was an apparent and sustained decline in the proportion of colonies that bleached during successive bleaching events, especially for Acropora and Montipora. In 2007, only 77% of Acropora colonies bleached compared with 98% in 1991. Temporal variation in the proportion of coral colonies bleached may be attributable to differences in environmental conditions among years. Alternately, the sustained declines in bleaching incidence among highly susceptible corals may be indicative of acclimation or adaptation. Coral genera that are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, and especially Acropora and Montipora, exhibit temporal declines in their susceptibility to thermal anomalies at Moorea, French Polynesia. One possible explanation for these findings is that gradual removal of highly susceptible genotypes (through selective mortality of individuals, populations, and/or species) is producing a coral assemblage that is more resistant to sustained and ongoing ocean warming.

  18. Changes in Bleaching Susceptibility among Corals Subject to Ocean Warming and Recurrent Bleaching in Moorea, French Polynesia

    PubMed Central

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; McCowan, Dominique; Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Heron, Scott F.

    2013-01-01

    Background Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems, mostly because of the sensitivities of key habitat-forming corals to increasing temperature. However, susceptibility to bleaching varies greatly among coral genera and there are likely to be major changes in the relative abundance of different corals, even if the wholesale loss of corals does not occur for several decades. Here we document variation in bleaching susceptibility among key genera of reef-building corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, and compare bleaching incidence during mass-bleaching events documented in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2007. Methodology/Principal Findings This study compared the proportion of colonies that bleached for four major genera of reef-building corals (Acropora, Montipora, Pocillopora and Porites), during each of four well-documented bleaching events from 1991 to 2007. Acropora and Montipora consistently bleached in far greater proportions (up to 98%) than Pocillopora and Porites. However, there was an apparent and sustained decline in the proportion of colonies that bleached during successive bleaching events, especially for Acropora and Montipora. In 2007, only 77% of Acropora colonies bleached compared with 98% in 1991. Temporal variation in the proportion of coral colonies bleached may be attributable to differences in environmental conditions among years. Alternately, the sustained declines in bleaching incidence among highly susceptible corals may be indicative of acclimation or adaptation. Conclusions/Significance Coral genera that are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, and especially Acropora and Montipora, exhibit temporal declines in their susceptibility to thermal anomalies at Moorea, French Polynesia. One possible explanation for these findings is that gradual removal of highly susceptible genotypes (through selective mortality of individuals, populations, and/or species) is producing a coral assemblage that is more resistant to

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-07

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2016-02-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Diversity of bacteria associated with the coral Pocillopora damicornis from the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Bourne, David G; Munn, Colin B

    2005-08-01

    The microbial community associated with the reef building coral Pocillopora damicornis located on the Great Barrier Reef was investigated using culture-independent molecular microbial techniques. The microbial communities of three separate coral colonies were assessed using clone library construction alongside restriction fragment length polymorphism and phylogenetic analysis. Diversity was also investigated spatially across six replicate samples within each single coral colony using 16S rDNA and rpoB-DGGE analysis. Clone libraries demonstrated that the majority of retrieved sequences from coral tissue slurry libraries affiliated with gamma-Proteobacteria. This contrasted with clone libraries of seawater and coral mucus, which were dominated by alpha-Proteobacteria. A number of retrieved clone sequences were conserved between coral colonies; a result consistent with previous studies suggesting a specific microbe-coral association. rpoB-DGGE patterns of replicate tissue slurry samples underestimated microbial diversity, but demonstrated that fingerprints were identical within the same coral. These fingerprints were also conserved across coral colonies. The 16S rDNA-DGGE patterns of replicate tissue slurry samples were more complex, although non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS) analysis showed groupings of these banding patterns indicating that some bacterial diversity was uniform within a coral colony. Sequence data retrieved from DGGE analysis support clone library data in that the majority of affiliations were within the gamma-Proteobacteria. Many sequences retrieved also affiliated closely with sequences derived from previous studies of microbial diversity of healthy corals in the Caribbean. Clones showing high 16S rDNA sequence identity to both Vibrio shiloi and Vibrio coralliilyticus were retrieved, suggesting that these may be opportunist pathogens. Comparisons of retrieved microbial diversity between two different sampling methods, a syringe extracted

  7. Cytochrome P450 diversity and induction by gorgonian allelochemicals in the marine gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Intense consumer pressure strongly affects the structural organization and function of marine ecosystems, while also having a profound effect on the phenotype of both predator and prey. Allelochemicals produced by prey often render their tissues unpalatable or toxic to a majority of potential consumers, yet some marine consumers have evolved resistance to host chemical defenses. A key challenge facing marine ecologists seeking to explain the vast differences in consumer tolerance of dietary allelochemicals is understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying diet choice. The ability of marine consumers to tolerate toxin-laden prey may involve the cooperative action of biotransformation enzymes, including the inducible cytochrome P450s (CYPs), which have received little attention in marine invertebrates despite the importance of allelochemicals in their evolution. Results Here, we investigated the diversity, transcriptional response, and enzymatic activity of CYPs possibly involved in allelochemical detoxification in the generalist gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum, which feeds exclusively on chemically defended gorgonians. Twelve new genes in CYP family 4 were identified from the digestive gland of C. gibbosum. Laboratory-based feeding studies demonstrated a 2.7- to 5.1-fold induction of Cyphoma CYP4BK and CYP4BL transcripts following dietary exposure to the gorgonian Plexaura homomalla, which contains high concentrations of anti-predatory prostaglandins. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that C. gibbosum CYP4BK and CYP4BL were most closely related to vertebrate CYP4A and CYP4F, which metabolize pathophysiologically important fatty acids, including prostaglandins. Experiments involving heterologous expression of selected allelochemically-responsive C. gibbosum CYP4s indicated a possible role of one or more CYP4BL forms in eicosanoid metabolism. Sequence analysis further demonstrated that Cyphoma CYP4BK/4BL and vertebrate CYP4A/4F forms share

  8. Cytochrome P450 diversity and induction by gorgonian allelochemicals in the marine gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum.

    PubMed

    Whalen, Kristen E; Starczak, Victoria R; Nelson, David R; Goldstone, Jared V; Hahn, Mark E

    2010-12-01

    Intense consumer pressure strongly affects the structural organization and function of marine ecosystems, while also having a profound effect on the phenotype of both predator and prey. Allelochemicals produced by prey often render their tissues unpalatable or toxic to a majority of potential consumers, yet some marine consumers have evolved resistance to host chemical defenses. A key challenge facing marine ecologists seeking to explain the vast differences in consumer tolerance of dietary allelochemicals is understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying diet choice. The ability of marine consumers to tolerate toxin-laden prey may involve the cooperative action of biotransformation enzymes, including the inducible cytochrome P450s (CYPs), which have received little attention in marine invertebrates despite the importance of allelochemicals in their evolution. Here, we investigated the diversity, transcriptional response, and enzymatic activity of CYPs possibly involved in allelochemical detoxification in the generalist gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum, which feeds exclusively on chemically defended gorgonians. Twelve new genes in CYP family 4 were identified from the digestive gland of C. gibbosum. Laboratory-based feeding studies demonstrated a 2.7- to 5.1-fold induction of Cyphoma CYP4BK and CYP4BL transcripts following dietary exposure to the gorgonian Plexaura homomalla, which contains high concentrations of anti-predatory prostaglandins. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that C. gibbosum CYP4BK and CYP4BL were most closely related to vertebrate CYP4A and CYP4F, which metabolize pathophysiologically important fatty acids, including prostaglandins. Experiments involving heterologous expression of selected allelochemically-responsive C. gibbosum CYP4s indicated a possible role of one or more CYP4BL forms in eicosanoid metabolism. Sequence analysis further demonstrated that Cyphoma CYP4BK/4BL and vertebrate CYP4A/4F forms share identical amino acid

  9. 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.

  10. Effects of temperature and salinity on survival rate of cultured corals and photosynthetic efficiency of zooxanthellae in coral tissues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuanui, Pataporn; Chavanich, Suchana; Viyakarn, Voranop; Omori, Makoto; Lin, Chiahsin

    2015-06-01

    This study investigated the effects of temperature and salinity on growth, survival, and photosynthetic efficiency of three coral species, namely, Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora millepora and Platygyra sinensis of different ages (6 and 18 months old). The experimental corals were cultivated via sexual propagation. Colonies were exposed to 5 different temperatures (18, 23, 28, 33, and 38°C) and 5 different salinities (22, 27, 32, 37, and 42 psu). Results showed that temperature significantly affected photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) (p < 0.05) compared to salinity. The maximum quantum yield of corals decreased ranging from 5% to 100% when these corals were exposed to different temperatures and salinities. Temperature also significantly affected coral growth and survival. However, corals exposed to changes in salinity showed higher survivorship than those exposed to changes in temperature. Results in this study also showed that corals of different ages and of different species did not display the same physiological responses to changes in environmental conditions. Thus, the ability of corals to tolerate salinity and temperature stresses depends on several factors.

  11. 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.

  12. The 2014 summer coral bleaching event in subtropical Hong Kong.

    PubMed

    Xie, James Y; Lau, Dickey C C; Kei, Keith; Yu, Vriko P F; Chow, Wing-Kuen; Qiu, Jian-Wen

    2017-04-06

    We reported a coral bleaching event that occurred in August-September 2014 in Hong Kong waters based on video transect surveys conducted at eight sites. The bleaching affected eight species of corals with different growth forms. Bleaching at seven of the eight study sites was minor, affecting only 0.4-5.2% colonies and 0.8-10.0% coral-covered area. Sharp Island East, however, suffered from a moderate level of bleaching, with 13.1% colonies and 30.1% coral-covered area affected. Examination of the government's environmental monitoring data indicated abnormal water quality conditions preceding and during the bleaching event. Follow-up field surveys of tagged colonies showed that 76% of them had fully recovered, 12% partially recovered, and 12% suffered from mortality. These results indicate that the subtropical corals of Hong Kong are not immune to bleaching, and there is a need to study their responses under climate change scenarios. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. The ecotoxicology of vegetable versus mineral based lubricating oils: 3. Coral fertilization and adult corals.

    PubMed

    Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P; Burns, Kathryn A; Heyward, Andrew J

    2004-05-01

    Biodegradable vegetable-derived lubricants (VDL) might be less toxic to marine organisms than mineral-derived oils (MDL) due to the absence of high molecular weight aromatics, but this remains largely untested. In this laboratory study, adult corals and coral gametes were exposed to various concentrations of a two-stroke VDL-1A and a corresponding MDL to determine which lubricant type was more toxic to each life stage. In the fertilization experiment, gametes from the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma were exposed to water-accommodated fractions (WAF) of VDL-1A and MDL for four hours. The MDL and VDL-1A WAFs inhibited normal fertilization of the corals at 200 microg l(-1) total hydrocarbon content (THC) and 150 microg l(-1) THC respectively. Disturbance of a stable coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regarded as a valid measure of sub-lethal stress in adult corals. The state of the symbiosis in branchlets of adult colonies of Acropora formosa was monitored using indicators such as dinoflagellate expulsion and dark-adapted photosystem II yields of dinoflagellate (using pulse amplitude modulation fluorescence). An effect on symbiosis was measurable following 48 h exposure to the lubricants at concentrations of 190 microg l(-1) and 37 microg l(-1) THC for the MDL and VDL-1A respectively. GC/MS revealed that the main constituent of the VDL-1A WAF was the compound coumarin, added by the manufacturer to improve odour. The fragrance containing coumarin was removed from the lubricant formulation and the toxicity towards adult corals re-examined. The coumarin-free VDL-2 exhibited significantly less toxicity towards the adult corals than all of the other oil types tested, with the only measurable effect being a slight but significant drop in photosynthetic efficiency at 280 microg l(-1).

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Herbivory versus corallivory: are parrotfish good or bad for Caribbean coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2009-09-01

    With coral cover in decline on many Caribbean reefs, any process of coral mortality is of potential concern. While sparisomid parrotfishes are major grazers of Caribbean reefs and help control algal blooms, the fact that they also undertake corallivory has prompted some to question the rationale for their conservation. Here the weight of evidence for beneficial effects of parrotfishes, in terms of reducing algal cover and facilitating demographic processes in corals, and the deleterious effects of parrotfishes in terms of causing coral mortality and chronic stress, are reviewed. While elevated parrotfish density will likely increase the predation rate upon juvenile corals, the net effect appears to be positive in enhancing coral recruitment through removal of macroalgal competitors. Parrotfish corallivory can cause modest partial colony mortality in the most intensively grazed species of Montastraea but the generation and healing of bite scars appear to be in near equilibrium, even when coral cover is low. Whole colony mortality in adult corals can lead to complete exclusion of some delicate, lagoonal species of Porites from forereef environments but is only reported for one reef species ( Porites astreoides), for one habitat (backreef), and with uncertain incidence (though likely <<10%). No deleterious effects of predation on coral growth or fecundity have been reported, though recovery of zooxanthellae after bleaching events may be retarded. The balance of evidence to date finds strong support for the herbivory role of parrotfishes in facilitating coral recruitment, growth, and fecundity. In contrast, no net deleterious effects of corallivory have been reported for reef corals. Corallivory is unlikely to constrain overall coral cover but contraints upon dwindling populations of the Montastraea annularis species complex are feasible and the role of parrotfishes as a vector of coral disease requires evaluation. However, any assertion that conservation practices

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. Conspecific aggregations mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on calcification of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa.

    PubMed

    Evensen, Nicolas R; Edmunds, Peter J

    2017-03-15

    In densely populated communities, such as coral reefs, organisms can modify the physical and chemical environment for neighbouring individuals. We tested the hypothesis that colony density (12 colonies each placed ∼0.5 cm apart versus ∼8 cm apart) can modulate the physiological response (measured through rates of calcification, photosynthesis and respiration in the light and dark) of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa to partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2 ) treatments (∼400 μatm and ∼1200 μatm) by altering the seawater flow regimes experienced by colonies placed in aggregations within a flume at a single flow speed. While light calcification decreased 20% under elevated versus ambient PCO2  for colonies in low-density aggregations, light calcification of high-density aggregations increased 23% at elevated versus ambient PCO2 As a result, densely aggregated corals maintained calcification rates over 24 h that were comparable to those maintained under ambient PCO2 , despite a 45% decrease in dark calcification at elevated versus ambient PCO2 Additionally, densely aggregated corals experienced reduced flow speeds and higher seawater retention times between colonies owing to the formation of eddies. These results support recent indications that neighbouring organisms, such as the conspecific coral colonies in the present example, can create small-scale refugia from the negative effects of ocean acidification. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  7. A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Smith, L D; Devlin, M; Haynes, D; Gilmour, J P

    2005-01-01

    Inshore coral reefs adjacent to the wet tropics in North Queensland, Australia, are regularly exposed to flood plumes from coastal river systems. Changes in the nature of these plumes have been linked to the declining health of coral reefs in the region. The effect of flood plumes on the health of inshore corals was investigated by quantifying aspects of the demography of populations of corymbose and digitate Acropora at three groups of Island reefs along a gradient of exposure and decreasing water quality (High Island >Frankland's >Fitzroy). The size-structures of colonies, the rates of sexual recruitment, and the growth and survival of juveniles, all varied among the Island reefs. Juvenile and adult sized colonies were far more abundant at the Fitzroy Island reefs, than at the High or Frankland Island reefs that were more exposed to flood plumes. Additionally, there were up to eight times as many sexual recruits at the Fitzroy Island reefs, compared with the High Island reefs. However, the rates of growth and survival of the juvenile sized corals at the Fitzroy Island reefs were lower than at the more exposed reefs. The comparatively low abundance of adult corals at the exposed reefs is most likely due to their histories of disturbance from crown-of-thorns and coral bleaching, but the lack of subsequent recovery due to their low levels of larval recruitment. If a stock-recruitment relationship is typical for these groups of reefs, then the low rates of recruitment may be linked to the low density of adult colonies. Alternately, direct or indirect effects of chronic exposure to poor water quality may have resulted in less suitable substrata for larval settlement. We discuss these results and provide examples of how information about population structure and dynamics can be used in simple matrix models to quantify the current and future health of populations of corals under various scenarios.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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).

  17. Assessing coral health and disease from digital photographs and in situ surveys.

    PubMed

    Page, C A; Field, S N; Pollock, F J; Lamb, J B; Shedrawi, G; Wilson, S K

    2017-01-01

    Methods for monitoring the status of marine communities are increasingly adopting the use of images captured in the field. However, it is not always clear how data collected from photographic images relate to historic data collected using traditional underwater visual census methods. Here, we compare coral health and disease data collected in situ by scuba divers with photographic images collected simultaneously at 12 coral reef sites. Five globally relevant coral diseases were detected on 194 colonies from in situ surveys and 79 colonies from photos, whilst 698 colonies from in situ surveys and 535 colonies from photos exhibited signs of compromised health other than disease. Comparisons of in situ surveys with photographic analyses indicated that the number of disease cases occurring in the examined coral populations (prevalence) was six times higher (4.5 vs. 0.8% of colonies), whilst compromised health was three times higher (14 vs. 4% of colonies) from in situ surveys. Skeletal eroding band disease, sponge overgrowth and presence of Waminoa flatworms were not detected in photographs, though they were identified in situ. Estimates of black band disease and abnormally pigmented coral tissues were similar between the two methods. Estimates of the bleached and healthy colonies were also similar between methods and photographic analyses were a strong predictor of bleached (r (2) = 0.8) and healthy (r (2) = 0.5) colony prevalence from in situ surveys. Moreover, when data on disease and compromised health states resulting in white or pale coral colony appearance were pooled, the prevalence of 'white' colonies from in situ (14%) and photographic analyses (11%) were statistically similar. Our results indicate that information on coral disease and health collected by in situ surveys and photographic analyses are not directly comparable, with in situ surveys generally providing higher estimates of prevalence and greater ability to identify some diseases and

  18. Coral Calcification Across a Natural Gradient in Ocean Acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, A. L.; Brainard, R. E.; Young, C.; Shamberger, K. E.; McCorkle, D. C.; Feely, R. A.; Mcleod, E.; Cantin, N.; Rose, K.; Lohmann, G. P.

    2011-12-01

    Much of our understanding of the impact of ocean acidification on coral calcification comes from laboratory manipulation experiments in which corals are reared under a range of seawater pH and aragonite saturation states (μar) equivalent to those projected for the next hundred years. In general, experiments show a consistently negative impact of acidification on coral calcification, leading to predictions of mass coral reef extinctions by dissolution as natural rates of carbonate erosion exceed the rates at which corals and other reef calcifiers can replace it. The tropical oceans provide a natural laboratory within which to test hypotheses about the longer term impact and adaptive potential of corals to acidification of the reef environment. Here we report results of a study in which 3-D CT scan and imaging techniques were used to quantify annual rates of calcification by conspecifics at 12 reefs sites spanning a natural gradient in ocean acidification. In situ μar calculated from alkalinity and DIC measurements of reef seawater ranged from less than 2.7 on an eastern Pacific Reef to greater than 4.0 in the central Red Sea. No correlation between μar and calcification was observed across this range. Corals living on low μar reefs appear to be calcifying as fast, sometimes faster than conspecifics living on high μar reefs. We used total lipid and tissue thickness to index the energetic status of colonies collected at each of our study sites. Our results support the hypothesis that energetics plays a key role in the coral calcification response to ocean acidification. Indeed, the true impact of acidification on coral reefs will likely be felt as temperatures rise and the ocean becomes more stratified, depleting coral energetic reserves through bleaching and reduced nutrient delivery to oceanic reefs.

  19. 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.

  20. Estimating the Potential for Adaptation of Corals to Climate Warming

    PubMed Central

    Császár, Nikolaus B. M.; Ralph, Peter J.; Frankham, Richard; Berkelmans, Ray; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20305781

  1. Polyoxygenated steroids from the gorgonian Menella woodin with capabilities to modulate ROS levels in macrophages at response to LPS.

    PubMed

    Tu, Vu A; Lyakhova, Ekaterina G; Diep, Chau N; Kalinovsky, Anatoly I; Dmitrenok, Pavel S; Cuong, Nguyen X; Thanh, Nguyen V; Menchinskaya, Ekaterina S; Pislyagin, Evgeny A; Nam, Nguyen H; Kiem, Phan V; Stonik, Valentin A; Minh, Chau V

    2015-12-01

    Four new polyoxygenated sterol derivatives (1-4) along with the compounds (5-7) previously known from other biological sources were isolated from the gorgonian Menella woodin, collected from the Vietnamese waters. Structures of 1-4 were elucidated by the detailed NMR spectroscopic and mass-spectrometric analyses as well as comparison with those reported in literature data. Compounds 1, 4, and 6 decrease the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the murine macrophages of RAW 264.7 line at induction by endotoxic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli.

  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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Coral host transcriptomic states are correlated with Symbiodinium genotypes.

    PubMed

    DeSalvo, M K; Sunagawa, S; Fisher, P L; Voolstra, C R; Iglesias-Prieto, R; Medina, M

    2010-03-01

    A mutualistic relationship between reef-building corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) forms the basis for the existence of coral reefs. Genotyping tools for Symbiodinium spp. have added a new level of complexity to studies concerning cnidarian growth, nutrient acquisition, and stress. For example, the response of the coral holobiont to thermal stress is connected to the host-Symbiodinium genotypic combination, as different partnerships can have different bleaching susceptibilities. In this study, we monitored Symbiodinium physiological parameters and profiled the coral host transcriptional responses in acclimated, thermally stressed, and recovered fragments of the coral Montastraea faveolata using a custom cDNA gene expression microarray. Interestingly, gene expression was more similar among samples with the same Symbiodinium content rather than the same experimental condition. In order to discount for host-genotypic effects, we sampled fragments from a single colony of M. faveolata containing different symbiont types, and found that the host transcriptomic states grouped according to Symbiodinium genotype rather than thermal stress. As the first study that links coral host transcriptomic patterns to the clade content of their Symbiodinium community, our results provide a critical step to elucidating the molecular basis of the apparent variability seen among different coral-Symbiodinium partnerships.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wirshing, Herman H; Baker, Andrew C

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Studies on the minor constituents of the Caribbean gorgonian octocoral Briareum asbestinum Pallas. Isolation and structure determination of the eunicellin-based diterpenoids briarellins E--I.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, A D; Cóbar, O M

    1995-11-01

    Five new eunicellin-type diterpenoids, briarellins E--I, along with several known diterpenoids of the asbestinane, briarane and eunicellane classes, were isolated from the Caribbean gorgonian octocoral Briareum asbestinum collected in Puerto Rico. The structures of these compounds were established on the basis of spectroscopic evidence.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Effectiveness of coral relocation as a mitigation strategy in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i.

    PubMed

    Rodgers, Ku'ulei S; Lorance, Koi; Richards Donà, Angela; Stender, Yuko; Lager, Claire; Jokiel, Paul L

    2017-01-01

    Coral reef restoration and management techniques are in ever-increasing demand due to the global decline of coral reefs in the last several decades. Coral relocation has been established as an appropriate restoration technique in select cases, particularly where corals are scheduled for destruction. However, continued long-term monitoring of recovery of transplanted corals is seldom sustained. Removal of coral from a navigation channel and relocation to a similar nearby dredged site occurred in 2005. Coral recovery at the donor site and changes in fish populations at the receiving site were tracked periodically over the following decade. Coral regrowth at the donor site was rapid until a recent bleaching event reduced coral cover by more than half. The transplant of mature colonies increased spatial complexity at the receiving site, immediately increasing fish biomass, abundance, and species that was maintained throughout subsequent surveys. Our research indicates that unlike the majority of historical accounts of coral relocation in the Pacific, corals transplanted into wave-protected areas with similar conditions as the original site can have high survival rates. Data on long-term monitoring of coral transplants in diverse environments is central in developing management and mitigation strategies.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-12

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

  7. Recovery of the coral Montastrea annularis in the Florida Keys after the 1987 Caribbean ``bleaching event''

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fitt, William K.; Spero, Howard J.; Halas, John; White, Michael W.; Porter, James W.

    1993-07-01

    Many reef-building corals and other cnidarians lost photosynthetic pigments and symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) during the coral bleaching event in the Caribbean in 1987. The Florida Reef Tract included some of the first documented cases, with widespread bleaching of the massive coral Montastrea annularis beginning in late August. Phototransects at Carysfort Reef showed discoloration of >90% of colonies of this species in March 1988 compared to 0% in July 1986; however no mortality was observed between 1986 and 1988. Samples of corals collected in February and June 1988 had zooxanthellae densities ranging from 0.1 in the most lightly colored corals, to 1.6x106 cells/cm2 in the darker corals. Minimum densities increased to 0.5x106 cells/cm2 by August 1989. Chlorophyll- a content of zooxanthellae and zooxanthellar mitotic indices were significantly higher in corals with lower densities of zooxanthellae, suggesting that zooxanthellar at low densities may be more nutrientsufficient than those in unbleached corals. Ash-free dry weight of coral tissue was positively correlated with zooxanthellae density at all sample times and was significantly lower in June 1988 compared to August 1989. Proteins and lipids per cm2 were significantly higher in August 1989 than in February or June, 1988. Although recovery of zooxanthellae density and coral pigmentation to normal levels may occur in less than one year, regrowth of tissue biomass and energy stores lost during the period of low symbiont densities may take significantly longer.

  8. Isolation And Partial Characterization Of Bacteria Activity Associated With Gorgonian Euplexaura sp. Against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kristiana, R.; Ayuningrum, D.; Asagabaldan, M. A.; Nuryadi, H.; Sabdono, A.; Radjasa, O. K.; Trianto, A.

    2017-02-01

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection has emerged in around the world and has been resistance to ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, clindamycin. The aims of this study were to isolate, to investigate and to characterize bacterial symbionts gorgonian having activity against MRSA. Euplexaura sp. was collected from Panjang Island, Jepara, Indonesia by snorkling 2-5 m in depth. Bacterias were isolated by using spesific media with dilution method. Bacterias were conducted by using the streak method. Antibacterial activity was investigated by overlay method. The potent bacteria was identified by using molecular identification (DNA extraction, electrophoresis, PCR and phylogenetic analysis using 16S rDNA genes with actinobacteria-spesific primers) and bio-chemical test (among 5 isolated bacteria from gorgonian showed activity against MRSA). The strain PG-344 was the best candidat that has an inhibition zone against MRSA. The result of sequencing bacteria is 100% closely related with Virgibacillus salarius. This becomes a potential new bioactive compounds to against MRSA that can be a new drug discovery.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  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. A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation.

    PubMed

    Baums, Iliana B

    2008-06-01

    Worldwide degradation of coral reef communities has prompted a surge in restoration efforts. They proceed largely without considering genetic factors because traditionally, coral populations have been regarded as open over large areas with little potential for local adaptation. Since, biophysical and molecular studies indicated that most populations are closed over shorter time and smaller spatial scales. Thus, it is justified to re-examine the potential for site adaptation in corals. There is ample evidence for differentiated populations, inbreeding, asexual reproduction and the occurrence of ecotypes, factors that may facilitate local adaptation. Discovery of widespread local adaptation would influence coral restoration projects mainly with regard to the physical and evolutionary distance from the source wild and/or captive bred propagules may be moved without causing a loss of fitness in the restored population. Proposed causes for loss of fitness as a result of (plant) restoration efforts include founder effects, genetic swamping, inbreeding and/or outbreeding depression. Direct evidence for any of these processes is scarce in reef corals due to a lack of model species that allow for testing over multiple generations and the separation of the relative contributions of algal symbionts and their coral hosts to the overall performance of the coral colony. This gap in our knowledge may be closed by employing novel population genetic and genomics approaches. The use of molecular tools may aid managers in the selection of appropriate propagule sources, guide spatial arrangement of transplants, and help in assessing the success of coral restoration projects by tracking the performance of transplants, thereby generating important data for future coral reef conservation and restoration projects.

  1. Observations of turbulent mixing in a shallow coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Z. C.

    2016-02-01

    In situ measurements of waves, currents, and turbulence are presented to study turbulence properties within a depression that is surrounded by multiple coral-reef colonies in 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. The observed turbulent dissipation rate 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. Energetic downward momentum flux exists due to sweeping process; the turbulent kinetic energy is transported downward into the depression through the mechanisms of vertical turbulent transport and advection. The observed turbulent dissipation rate exceeds the shear production rate, which suggests that transport terms or other source terms might be important. The wake flow caused by the resistance force of coral colonies is examined. The form drag coefficient was estimated from the time-averaged alongshore linear momentum between two sites upstream and within the coral reef. The work done due to the form drag, which is termed the wake production, is found to strongly correlate and approximate well to the observed turbulent dissipation rate. The effects of waves and currents on the wake production are discussed. The observed TSS can be described well by classic turbulence closure model when the empirical stability function is adjusted. This study suggests that the complex canopy structure of multiple colonies and the coexistence of the wave-induced and current flows are significant factors for energetic turbulence in the coral reef, which could have positive effects to the health of the coral reefs.

  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. Life in the colonies: learning the alien ways of colonial organisms.

    PubMed

    Winston, Judith E

    2010-12-01

    Who needs to go to outer space to study alien beings when the oceans of our own planet abound with bizarre and unknown creatures? Many of them belong to sessile clonal and colonial groups, including sponges, hydroids, corals, octocorals, ascidians, bryozoans, and some polychaetes. Their life histories, in many ways unlike our own, are a challenge for biologists. Studying their ecology, behavior, and taxonomy means trying to “think like a colony” to understand the factors important in their lives. Until the 1980s, most marine ecologists ignored these difficult modular organisms. Plant ecologists showed them ways to deal with the two levels of asexually produced modules and genetic individuals, leading to a surge in research on the ecology of clonal and colonial marine invertebrates. Bryozoans make excellent model colonial animals. Their life histories range from ephemeral to perennial. Aspects of their lives such as growth, reproduction, partial mortality due to predation or fouling, and the behavior of both autozooids and polymorphs can be studied at the level of the colony, as well as that of the individual module, in living colonies and over time.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Mapping Prevalence and Incidence of Coral Disease in reef-building corals at two Natural Reserves of the Southwest Puerto Rico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanchez Viruet, I.; Irizarry-Soto, E.; Ruiz-Valentín, I.

    2016-02-01

    Coral diseases seems to be the main cause of coral reef decline in the Caribbean. Before the bleaching event of 2005, coral reefs in Puerto Rico were dominated by the reef-building taxa: Orbicella annularis, Porites astreoides, Montastrea cavernosa, Agaricia agaracites and Colpophyllia natans. After the event, live-coral cover significantly declined and more than 90% of the scleractinian corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico showed signals of thermal stressors. The prevalence of coral diseases in five reef-building coral (Orbicella annularis, Orbicella franksi, Orbicella faveolata, Porites porites and Pseudiploria strigosa) species was assessed by tagging, photographing, and mapping all diseased and healthy colonies within 10 permanent 40m2 band transects at each inshore and mid-shelf reefs of Belvedere and Punta Guaniquilla Natural Reserves using a random stratified sampling method. Maximum and perpendicular diameter was used to assess coral size using Coral Point Count with Excel Extension. Corals were classified into three size class populations (class I: 0-50cm, class II: 50-100cm and class III: >100 cm). Data was used to develop a GIS-based map containing coral species, size and disease presence. Preliminary results of the inshore area showed a higher disease prevalence in Belvedere natural reserve and for P. strigosa (17.1%) and O. annularis (9.3%). Frequency distribution analysis showed a dominance of O. faveolata at Punta Guaniquilla and Belvedere (127 and 88 individuals respectively). Size class I dominates the distribution of each species within the natural reserves with a higher disease prevalence. Future work include continue prevalence surveys of the outer reef shelf on both natural reserves, monitoring and GIS-based mapping of incidence and resilience through time. This study will help in the assessment of the status of the coral reef of the southwest insular platform.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. The effects of prolonged ``bleaching'' on the tissue biomass and reproduction of the reef coral Montastrea annularis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szmant, A. M.; Gassman, N. J.

    1990-04-01

    Colonies of Montastrea annularis from Carysfort Reef, Florida, that remained bleached seven months after the 1987 Caribbean bleaching event were studied to determine the long term effects of bleaching on coral physiology. Two types of bleached colonies were found: colonies with low numbers of zooxanthellae with normal pigment content, and a colony with high densities of lowpigment zooxanthellae. In both types, the zooxanthellae had an abnormal distribution within polyp tissues: highest densities were observed in basal endoderm and in mesenteries where zooxanthellae are not normally found. Bleached corals had 30% less tissue carbon and 44% less tissue nitrogen biomass per skeletal surface area, but the same tissue C:N ratio as other colonies that either did not bleach (normal) or that bleached and regained their zooxanthellae (recovered). Bleached corals were not able to complete gametogenesis during the reproductive season following the bleaching, while recovered corals were able to follow a normal gametogenic cycle. It appears that bleached corals were able to survive the prolonged period without nutritional contribution from their zooxanthellae by consuming their own structural materials for maintenance, but then, did not have the resources necessary for reproduction. The recovered corals, on the other hand, must have regained their zooxanthellae soon after the bleaching event since neither their tissue biomass nor their ability to reproduce were impaired.

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-31

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

  16. 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

    2016-03-18

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Ocean warming slows coral growth in the central Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Cantin, Neal E; Cohen, Anne L; Karnauskas, Kristopher B; Tarrant, Ann M; McCorkle, Daniel C

    2010-07-16

    Sea surface temperature (SST) across much of the tropics has increased by 0.4 degrees to 1 degrees C since the mid-1970s. A parallel increase in the frequency and extent of coral bleaching and mortality has fueled concern that climate change poses a major threat to the survival of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. Here we show that steadily rising SSTs, not ocean acidification, are already driving dramatic changes in the growth of an important reef-building coral in the central Red Sea. Three-dimensional computed tomography analyses of the massive coral Diploastrea heliopora reveal that skeletal growth of apparently healthy colonies has declined by 30% since 1998. The same corals responded to a short-lived warm event in 1941/1942, but recovered within 3 years as the ocean cooled. Combining our data with climate model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we predict that should the current warming trend continue, this coral could cease growing altogether by 2070.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Hemond, Elizabeth M; Vollmer, Steven V

    2015-09-01

    Reef-building corals experience large diel shifts in their environment, both externally due to changes in light intensity, predator activity and prey availability, and internally as a result of diel fluctuations in photosynthesis by their endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium. Diel patterns of tentacle behaviour, skeletal growth and gene expression indicate reactions of the coral animal in response to light and through circadian regulation. Some corals, such as the Caribbean Acroporas, have strong within-colony division of labour, including specialized fast-growing apical polyps, accompanied by large gene expression differences. Here we use RNA-seq to evaluate how diel changes in gene expression vary within the branching Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, between branch tips and branch bases. Multifactor generalized linear model analysis indicated that 6% (3005) of transcripts were differentially expressed between branch tips and bases, while 1% (441) of transcripts were differentially expressed between day and night. The gene expression patterns of 220 transcripts were affected by both time of day and location within the colony. In particular, photoreceptors, putative circadian genes, stress response genes and metabolic genes were differentially expressed between day and night, and some of these, including Amcry1, tef and hebp2, exhibited location-specific regulation within the coral colony as well. These findings indicate that the genetic response of the coral to day and night conditions varies within the colony. Both time of day and location within the colony are factors that should be considered in future coral gene expression experiments. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Low sediment loads affect survival of coral recruits: the first weeks are crucial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moeller, Mareen; Nietzer, Samuel; Schils, Tom; Schupp, Peter J.

    2017-03-01

    Increased sedimentation due to anthropogenic activities is a threat to many nearshore coral reefs. The effects on adult corals have been studied extensively and are well known. Studies about the impact of sedimentation on the early life stages of scleractinian corals, however, are rare although recruitment is essential for conserving and restoring coral reefs. Laboratory and in situ experiments with recruits of different age classes focused on the broadcast-spawning species Acropora hyacinthus and the brooding coral Leptastrea purpurea. Recruits were exposed to different sediment loads over three to five weeks. Applied sediment loads were more than one order of magnitude lower than those known to affect survival of adult coral colonies. Growth and survival of newly settled recruits were negatively affected by sediment loads that had no effect on the growth and survival of one-month-old recruits. All experiments indicated that newly settled coral recruits are most sensitive to sedimentation within the first two to four weeks post settlement. The co-occurrence of moderate sedimentation events during and immediately after periods of coral spawning can therefore reduce recruitment success substantially. These findings provide new information to develop comprehensive sediment management plans for the conservation and recovery of coral reefs affected by chronic or acute sedimentation events.

  15. 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. © 2016 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 bl