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Sample records for porites species coral

  1. Genetic species delineation among branching Caribbean Porites corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Forsman, Z.H.; Birkeland, C.

    2009-01-01

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

  3. Physiological and Biogeochemical Traits of Bleaching and Recovery in the Mounding Species of Coral Porites lobata: Implications for Resilience in Mounding Corals

    PubMed Central

    Levas, Stephen J.; Grottoli, Andréa G.; Hughes, Adam; Osburn, Christopher L.; Matsui, Yohei

    2013-01-01

    Mounding corals survive bleaching events in greater numbers than branching corals. However, no study to date has determined the underlying physiological and biogeochemical trait(s) that are responsible for mounding coral holobiont resilience to bleaching. Furthermore, the potential of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as a source of fixed carbon to bleached corals has never been determined. Here, Porites lobata corals were experimentally bleached for 23 days and then allowed to recover for 0, 1, 5, and 11 months. At each recovery interval a suite of analyses were performed to assess their recovery (photosynthesis, respiration, chlorophyll a, energy reserves, tissue biomass, calcification, δ13C of the skeletal, δ13C, and δ15N of the animal host and endosymbiont fractions). Furthermore, at 0 months of recovery, the assimilation of photosynthetically acquired and zooplankton-feeding acquired carbon into the animal host, endosymbiont, skeleton, and coral-mediated DOC were measured via 13C-pulse-chase labeling. During the first month of recovery, energy reserves and tissue biomass in bleached corals were maintained despite reductions in chlorophyll a, photosynthesis, and the assimilation of photosynthetically fixed carbon. At the same time, P. lobata corals catabolized carbon acquired from zooplankton and seemed to take up DOC as a source of fixed carbon. All variables that were negatively affected by bleaching recovered within 5 to 11 months. Thus, bleaching resilience in the mounding coral P. lobata is driven by its ability to actively catabolize zooplankton-acquired carbon and seemingly utilize DOC as a significant fixed carbon source, facilitating the maintenance of energy reserves and tissue biomass. With the frequency and intensity of bleaching events expected to increase over the next century, coral diversity on future reefs may favor not only mounding morphologies but species like P. lobata, which have the ability to utilize heterotrophic sources of fixed carbon

  4. Physiological and biogeochemical traits of bleaching and recovery in the mounding species of coral Porites lobata: implications for resilience in mounding corals.

    PubMed

    Levas, Stephen J; Grottoli, Andréa G; Hughes, Adam; Osburn, Christopher L; Matsui, Yohei

    2013-01-01

    Mounding corals survive bleaching events in greater numbers than branching corals. However, no study to date has determined the underlying physiological and biogeochemical trait(s) that are responsible for mounding coral holobiont resilience to bleaching. Furthermore, the potential of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as a source of fixed carbon to bleached corals has never been determined. Here, Porites lobata corals were experimentally bleached for 23 days and then allowed to recover for 0, 1, 5, and 11 months. At each recovery interval a suite of analyses were performed to assess their recovery (photosynthesis, respiration, chlorophyll a, energy reserves, tissue biomass, calcification, δ(13)C of the skeletal, δ(13)C, and δ(15)N of the animal host and endosymbiont fractions). Furthermore, at 0 months of recovery, the assimilation of photosynthetically acquired and zooplankton-feeding acquired carbon into the animal host, endosymbiont, skeleton, and coral-mediated DOC were measured via (13)C-pulse-chase labeling. During the first month of recovery, energy reserves and tissue biomass in bleached corals were maintained despite reductions in chlorophyll a, photosynthesis, and the assimilation of photosynthetically fixed carbon. At the same time, P. lobata corals catabolized carbon acquired from zooplankton and seemed to take up DOC as a source of fixed carbon. All variables that were negatively affected by bleaching recovered within 5 to 11 months. Thus, bleaching resilience in the mounding coral P. lobata is driven by its ability to actively catabolize zooplankton-acquired carbon and seemingly utilize DOC as a significant fixed carbon source, facilitating the maintenance of energy reserves and tissue biomass. With the frequency and intensity of bleaching events expected to increase over the next century, coral diversity on future reefs may favor not only mounding morphologies but species like P. lobata, which have the ability to utilize heterotrophic sources of

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  10. Diversity and antibacterial activities of culturable fungi associated with coral Porites pukoensis.

    PubMed

    Li, Jun; Zhong, Min; Lei, Xiaoling; Xiao, Shenglan; Li, Zhiyong

    2014-10-01

    The diversity of coral associated fungi is not enough understood, especially for scleractinian corals. Members of Porites are common and dominant species of scleractinian corals. To date, the fungal communities associated with coral Porites pukoensis have been not reported. In this paper, the diversity and activity of coral associated fungi in P. pukoensis were explored, 23 fungal strains were isolated, belonging to 10 genera and Aspergillus sp. (30.4 %) was predominant fungal genera. The sequence of isolate C1-23 in GenBank was only 90 % similarity to the most closely related sequences. It is concluded that rich fungal symbionts are attached to P. pukoensis, the rate of isolates with antibacterial activity was up to 30 %, particularly some isolates showed stronger bioactivities to gram-negative bacteria. It is included that the diversity of coral associated fungi in P. pukoensis is abundant and its activity is obviously. So the activities of fungi in P. pukoensis were deserved for further study.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-11-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, L.W.; Birkeland, C.

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Bacterial communities associated with Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS) on three western Indian Ocean (WIO) coral reefs.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yasuda, Naoko; Hidaka, Michio

    2012-12-01

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

  1. Unrecognized coral species diversity masks differences in functional ecology.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Jennifer N; Hellberg, Michael E; Cortés, Jorge; Baums, Iliana B

    2014-02-01

    Porites corals are foundation species on Pacific reefs but a confused taxonomy hinders understanding of their ecosystem function and responses to climate change. Here, we show that what has been considered a single species in the eastern tropical Pacific, Porites lobata, includes a morphologically similar yet ecologically distinct species, Porites evermanni. While P. lobata reproduces mainly sexually, P. evermanni dominates in areas where triggerfish prey on bioeroding mussels living within the coral skeleton, thereby generating asexual coral fragments. These fragments proliferate in marginal habitat not colonized by P. lobata. The two Porites species also show a differential bleaching response despite hosting the same dominant symbiont subclade. Thus, hidden diversity within these reef-builders has until now obscured differences in trophic interactions, reproductive dynamics and bleaching susceptibility, indicative of differential responses when confronted with future climate change.

  2. Unrecognized coral species diversity masks differences in functional ecology

    PubMed Central

    Boulay, Jennifer N.; Hellberg, Michael E.; Cortés, Jorge; Baums, Iliana B.

    2014-01-01

    Porites corals are foundation species on Pacific reefs but a confused taxonomy hinders understanding of their ecosystem function and responses to climate change. Here, we show that what has been considered a single species in the eastern tropical Pacific, Porites lobata, includes a morphologically similar yet ecologically distinct species, Porites evermanni. While P. lobata reproduces mainly sexually, P. evermanni dominates in areas where triggerfish prey on bioeroding mussels living within the coral skeleton, thereby generating asexual coral fragments. These fragments proliferate in marginal habitat not colonized by P. lobata. The two Porites species also show a differential bleaching response despite hosting the same dominant symbiont subclade. Thus, hidden diversity within these reef-builders has until now obscured differences in trophic interactions, reproductive dynamics and bleaching susceptibility, indicative of differential responses when confronted with future climate change. PMID:24335977

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  4. The calibration of D[Sr/Ca]versus sea surface temperature relationship for Porites corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Chuan-Chou; Lee, Typhoon; Chen, Chi-Yun; Wang, Chung-Ho; Dai, Chang-Feng; Li, Lung-An

    1996-10-01

    Taking advantage of the availability of a continuous sea surface temperature (SST) record at Kenting, southern Taiwan, we have carried out a calibration of D[Sr/Ca]-SST ( D: distribution coefficient) relationships for Porites lobata and P. lutea. Between 22°C ˜ 28°C, the best fitting linear relationships for the two species agree within their respective errors with a maximum deviation less than 0.3°C. Our calibration overlaps with the only published calibration for Porites ( deVilliers et al., 1994) but is somewhat less temperature sensitive. The maximum temperature differences for the two calibrations between 21°C and 27°C are ± 1.2°C. The D-SST relationship calculated using the data of Beck et al. (1992, 1994) and their unpublished seawater data lies between these two calibrations. Our calibration removes some discrepancies previously described in the studies of McCulloch et al. (1994a) on the Great Barrier Reef and of Min et al. (1995) on New Caledonia. We found little growth rate effect on the calibration for P. lutea between 18 mm/yr and 23 mm/yr. We have also monitored the seawater [Sr/Ca] for the entire 1993. The observed variation of 0.033 mmol/mol can cause a temperature artifact of 0.7°C and is thus a dominant error in using this new paleo-thermometer. To carry out this experiment, we have developed a microsurgical technique that can be used to sample corals at better than 0.15 mm resolution. The analytical precision should ultimately allow SST reconstruction of better than 0.2°C. Furthermore, the insensitivity of the calibration against growth rate variation and species differences suggests a promising future for this new thermometer, in contrast to the pessimism of deVilliers et al. (1995). However, inter-laboratory differences and the question of seawater [Sr/Ca] variation need to be addressed first. We recommend a single SST calibration for the Sr/Ca thermometer on coral Porites: Sr/Ca N = 10.286-0.0514 × SST (N: normalized to Hawaii

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-09-01

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

  11. Community Shifts in the Surface Microbiomes of the Coral Porites astreoides with Unusual Lesions

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Julie L.; Paul, Valerie J.; Teplitski, Max

    2014-01-01

    Apical lesions on Porites astreoides were characterized by the appearance of a thin yellow band, which was preceded by bleaching of the coral tissues and followed by a completely denuded coral skeleton, which often harbored secondary macroalgal colonizers. These characteristics have not been previously described in Porites and do not match common Caribbean coral diseases. The lesions were observed only in warmer months and at shallow depths on the fore reef in Belize. Analysis of the microbial community composition based on the V4 hypervariable region of 16S ribosomal RNA genes revealed that the surface microbiomes associated with nonsymptomatic corals were dominated by the members of the genus Endozoicomonas, consistent with other studies. Comparison of the microbiomes of nonsymptomatic and lesioned coral colonies sampled in July and September revealed two distinct groups, inconsistently related to the disease state of the coral, but showing some temporal signal. The loss of Endozoicomonas was characteristic of lesioned corals, which also harbored potential opportunistic pathogens such as Alternaria, Stenotrophomonas, and Achromobacter. The presence of lesions in P. astreoides coincided with a decrease in the relative abundance of Endozoicomonas, rather than the appearance of specific pathogenic taxa. PMID:24937478

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grottoli, Andréa G.; Rodrigues, Lisa J.

    2011-09-01

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

  15. Heavy metal pollution recorded in Porites corals from Daya Bay, northern South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Chen, Tian-Ran; Yu, Ke-Fu; Li, Shu; Price, Gilbert J; Shi, Qi; Wei, Gang-Jian

    2010-01-01

    We examined metal-to-calcium ratios (Fe/Ca, Mn/Ca and Zn/Ca) in the growth bands of two Porites corals from Daya Bay, South China Sea, in order to trace long-term trends in local ambient pollution levels. Although Fe and Mn did not show any obvious increasing trends over 32 years in the period 1976-2007, peak values of Fe/Ca and Mn/Ca occurred in the mid-late 1980s, temporally-coeval with the local construction of a nuclear power station. Furthermore, both corals showed rapid increases in Zn concentrations over the past 14 years (1994-2007), most likely due to increases in domestic and industrial sewage discharge. The Daya Bay corals had higher concentrations of metals than other reported corals from both pristine and seriously polluted locations, suggesting that acute (Fe and Mn) and chronic (Zn) heavy metal contamination has occurred locally over the past approximately 32 years.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-09-30

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

  17. Autotrophic and heterotrophic responses of the coral Porites lutea to large amplitude internal waves.

    PubMed

    Pacherres, Cesar O; Schmidt, Gertraud M; Richter, Claudio

    2013-12-01

    Large amplitude internal waves (LAIW) cause frequent and severe changes in the physico-chemical environment of Andaman Sea coral reefs and are a potentially important source of disturbance for corals. To explore the coral response to LAIW, prey capture disposition and photosynthesis were investigated in relation to changes in seawater temperature, pH, flow speed and food availability in LAIW simulation studies under controlled laboratory conditions, using Porites lutea as a model organism. Although food presence stimulated polyp expansion, we found an overriding effect of low temperature (19°C) causing retraction of the coral polyps into their calices, particularly when pH was altered concomitantly. Decreases in pH alone, however, caused the expansion of the polyps. The exposure history of the colonies played a crucial role in coral responses: prior field exposure to LAIW yielded lower retraction levels than in LAIW-inexperienced corals, suggesting acclimatization. Low temperature (19°C) exposure did not seem to influence the photosynthetic performance, but LAIW-experienced corals showed higher values of maximum dark-adapted quantum yield (Fv/Fm) of photosystem II than LAIW-inexperienced controls. Collectively, these data suggest that P. lutea, the dominant hermatypic coral in the Andaman Sea, can acclimatize to extreme changes in its abiotic environment by modulating its mixotrophic nutrition, through polyp expansion and potential feeding, as well as its photosynthetic efficiency.

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

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Gertraud Maria; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Coral growth and bioerosion of Porites lutea in response to large amplitude internal waves.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Gertraud Maria; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Cantin, Neal E; Lough, Janice M

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Influence of land development on Holocene Porites coral calcification at Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Natural variation of 87Sr/86Sr in coral Porites from southern Taiwan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Y.; Chiang, H.; Shen, C.; Lee, D.; Chen, Y.

    2009-12-01

    Monthly resolution 87Sr/86Sr records of living coral Porites heads, collected in Nanwan Bay, southernmost Taiwan (21o55’N, 120o47’E), were analyzed by a MC-ICP-MS at the Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University. Between the time window of 1992 and 2002, 87Sr/86Sr ratios remained constant at 0.709176 in winter, while strong annual fluctuations between 0.709171 and 0.709203 were observed during the summer. No relationship is found between Sr/Ca and δ18O, which suggests that the effect of temperature and fresh water input are negligible to the observed summer fluctuations of 87Sr/86Sr in these corals. Furthermore, 87Sr/86Sr ratio in offshore water exhibits a significantly offset of 0.00002-0.00003, and which is positively correlated to the variations of the coral values of 0.70917-0.70918. If this is correct, there exists a source that is responsible for the low 87Sr/86Sr observed in the corals, alternatively, a biologically kinetic effect can also explain the data. In order to better constrain the causes of the observed 87Sr/86Sr variations in these corals, a 84Sr-86Sr double-spike method using TIMS is currently being set up, and the data will be presented in this meeting.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

  19. Combining geochemical proxies in Porites coral cores from Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, A. J.; Zivkovic, J.; Anderson, D.; Umling, N. E.

    2013-12-01

    Chuuk Lagoon (7°N, 152°E), part of the Federated States of Micronesia, is centrally located in the Western Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) and provides an ideal location for studies of El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Warm Pool processes. The WPWP is a key aspect of the global climate, exchanging heat and carbon with the atmosphere as well as with the surrounding ocean and the underlying water masses. Recent work has indicated long-term changes in the WPWP, including freshening and warming, that have been attributed to climate change. This region also experiences large fluctuations in precipitation and temperature due to interannual oscillations in ENSO. Oxygen isotope (δ18O) data from corals provides insight into the isotopic ratio of the water in which the corals grew their aragonitic skeletons. However, the oxygen isotope ratio of seawater varies with both changes in temperature and salinity. Sr/Ca ratios vary with seawater temperature and, when combined with δ18O, can be used to interpret both temperature and salinity variations. Three coral cores from large Porites lobata coral heads were collected from Chuuk Lagoon in June 2011, and one additional core was collected in 2008. Two cores (one in 2008 and another in 2011) were collected near the main island within the lagoon where they are subject to large precipitation and temperature variability due to fluctuations in ENSO. The remaining two cores were collected at the outer edge of the atoll, just inside of the barrier reef. These cores were collected in less than 3 m of water and were constantly being flushed with water from the open ocean warm pool. Seasonal variability in temperature and salinity are expected to be very low at this site. Stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C) and trace element (Sr/Ca) analyses for the upper portion of these cores will be presented and compared to ENSO variability and observed trends in the WPWP. An adjacent lagoon coral is valuable in developing the lagoon history, while the

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-15

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Tianran; Li, Shu; Yu, Kefu

    2013-03-01

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

  7. Gene expression under chronic heat stress in populations of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) from different thermal environments.

    PubMed

    Kenkel, C D; Meyer, E; Matz, M V

    2013-08-01

    Recent evidence suggests that corals can acclimatize or adapt to local stress factors through differential regulation of their gene expression. Profiling gene expression in corals from diverse environments can elucidate the physiological processes that may be responsible for maximizing coral fitness in their natural habitat and lead to a better understanding of the coral's capacity to survive the effects of global climate change. In an accompanying paper, we show that Porites astreoides from thermally different reef habitats exhibit distinct physiological responses when exposed to 6 weeks of chronic temperature stress in a common garden experiment. Here, we describe expression profiles obtained from the same corals for a panel of 9 previously reported and 10 novel candidate stress response genes identified in a pilot RNA-Seq experiment. The strongest expression change was observed in a novel candidate gene potentially involved in calcification, SLC26, a member of the solute carrier family 26 anion exchangers, which was down-regulated by 92-fold in bleached corals relative to controls. The most notable signature of divergence between coral populations was constitutive up-regulation of metabolic genes in corals from the warmer inshore location, including the gluconeogenesis enzymes pyruvate carboxylase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and the lipid beta-oxidation enzyme acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. Our observations highlight several molecular pathways that were not previously implicated in the coral stress response and suggest that host management of energy budgets might play an adaptive role in holobiont thermotolerance. PMID:23899402

  8. Effects of UV radiation on the growth, photosynthetic and photoprotective components, and reproduction of the Caribbean shallow-water coral Porites furcata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres-Pérez, J. L.; Armstrong, R. A.

    2012-12-01

    Shallow reef corals can frequently be subjected to high doses of ultraviolet radiation [280-400 nm (UVR)] and have developed mechanisms to cope with this. Nevertheless, slight changes in this stressor may impact their physiology and ultimately their survival. Here, we present results on the effects of artificially enhanced UVR on the growth, reproduction, production of photosynthetic pigments and photoprotective compounds of the Caribbean shallow-water branching coral Porites furcata. Corals were randomly located in one of the three different treatments: normal photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) + UVR; normal PAR+ enhanced UVR; normal PAR+ depleted UVR. Growth rates were measured using the Alizarin red staining method, photosynthetic pigments as well as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) were quantified through high-performance liquid chromatography, and fecundity was estimated after histological analyses. Growth and photosynthetic pigment concentration were negatively correlated with increased UVR, compared to controls exposed to normal UVR. A significant increase in MAAs was also found in colonies under enhanced UVR. Based on their respective concentrations, the primary mycosporine-glycine (λmax = 310 nm) and shinorine (λmax = 333 nm) are the main contributors to UVR absorption in this species, while the levels of the secondary MAA palythine (λmax = 320 nm) tripled toward the end of the 128 days of the experimental period. While several physical factors may influence reef coral physiology, the results suggest that slight increases in UVR can debilitate the skeletal constitution and severely reduce the fecundity of corals living in shallow waters.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

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

  10. No gene flow across the Eastern Pacific Barrier in the reef-building coral Porites lobata.

    PubMed

    Baums, Iliana B; Boulay, Jennifer N; Polato, Nicholas R; Hellberg, Michael E

    2012-11-01

    The expanse of deep water between the central Pacific islands and the continental shelf of the Eastern Tropical Pacific is regarded as the world's most potent marine biogeographic barrier. During recurrent climatic fluctuations (ENSO, El Niño Southern Oscillation), however, changes in water temperature and the speed and direction of currents become favourable for trans-oceanic dispersal of larvae from central Pacific to marginal eastern Pacific reefs. Here, we investigate the population connectivity of the reef-building coral Porites lobata across the Eastern Pacific Barrier (EPB). Patterns of recent gene flow in samples (n = 1173) from the central Pacific and the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) were analysed with 12 microsatellite loci. Results indicated that P. lobata from the ETP are strongly isolated from those in the central Pacific and Hawaii (F(ct) ' = 0.509; P < 0.001). However, samples from Clipperton Atoll, an oceanic island on the eastern side of the EPB, grouped with the central Pacific. Within the central Pacific, Hawaiian populations were strongly isolated from three co-occurring clusters found throughout the remainder of the central Pacific. No further substructure was evident in the ETP. Changes in oceanographic conditions during ENSO over the past several thousand years thus appear insufficient to support larval deliveries from the central Pacific to the ETP or strong postsettlement selection acts on ETP settlers from the central Pacific. Recovery of P. lobata populations in the frequently disturbed ETP thus must depend on local larval sources.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-11-13

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. The effect of skeletal mass accumulation in Porites on coral Sr/Ca and δ18O paleothermometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gagan, Michael K.; Dunbar, Gavin B.; Suzuki, Atsushi

    2012-03-01

    Paleotemperature estimates based on coral Sr/Ca have not been widely accepted because the reconstructed glacial-Holocene shift in tropical sea-surface temperature (˜4-6°C) is larger than that indicated by foraminiferal Mg/Ca (˜2-4°C). We show that corals over-estimate changes in sea-surface temperature (SST) because their records are attenuated during skeletogenesis within the living tissue layer. To quantify this process, we microprofiled skeletal mass accumulation within the tissue layer of Porites from Australasian coral reefs and laboratory culturing experiments. The results show that the sensitivity of the Sr/Ca and δ18O thermometers in Porites will be suppressed, variable, and dependent on the relationship between skeletal growth rate and mass accumulation within the tissue layer. Our findings help explain why δ18O-SST sensitivities for Porites range from -0.08‰/°C to -0.22‰/°C and are always less than the value of -0.23‰/°C established for biogenic aragonite. Based on this observation, we recalibrated the coral Sr/Ca thermometer to determine a revised sensitivity of -0.084 mmol/mol/°C. After rescaling, most of the published Sr/Ca-SST estimates for the Indo-Pacific region for the last ˜14,000 years (-7°C to +2°C relative to modern) fall within the 95% confidence envelope of the foraminiferal Mg/Ca-SST records. We conclude that two types of calibration scales are required for coral paleothermometry; an attenuated Porites-specific thermometer sensitivity for studies of seasonal to interannual change in SST and, importantly, the rescaled -0.084 mmol/mol/°C Sr/Ca sensitivity for studies of 20th-century trends and millennial-scale changes in mean SST. The calibration-scaling concept will apply to the development of transfer functions for all geochemical tracers in corals.

  15. Metal contents in Porites corals: Anthropogenic input of river run-off into a coral reef from an urbanized area, Okinawa.

    PubMed

    Ramos, A A; Inoue, Y; Ohde, S

    2004-02-01

    In order to monitor pollutants from urban areas to coral reefs, metal contents in Porites coral samples collected from the Hija River mouth and at nearby sites from the estuary were analyzed. The corals were cleaned by oxidative and reductive treatments to effectively eliminate detritus and organic materials. Metal-to-calcium (Me/Ca) ratios in the samples were determined by ICP-MS. Filtered samples of river water were also measured similarly for metal concentrations. The extent of anthropogenic contribution by riverine input was assessed by comparing the Me/Ca values in corals to those of Rukan-sho, an unpolluted coral reef. High riverine inputs of Mn, Cd, Zn and Ag were observed from Me/Ca values in the coral samples. Manganese in the coral samples showed strong dependence on salinity, varying inversely to the distance from terrestrial sources. Considering a lead background of 25.0 nmol/mol measured in the Rukan-sho corals, Pb/Ca in corals of the Hija River estuary that are two and three times higher may indicate lead enrichment in the river mouth. Because Pb is only moderately high in the Hija River water compared to its concentration in surface seawater, lead may have accumulated in the estuarine water and sediments, resulting in an elevated concentration of lead available for coral uptake.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-12

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

  18. Environmental versus genetic influences on growth rates of the corals Pocillopora eydouxi and Porites lobata (Anthozoa: Scleractinia)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, L.W.; Wirshing, H.H.; Baker, A.C.; Birkeland, C.

    2008-01-01

    Reciprocal transplant experiments of the corals Pocillopora eydouxi Milne Edwards & Haime and Porites lobata Dana were carried out for an 18-month period from September 2004 to March 2006 between two back reef pools on Ofu Island, American Samoa, to test environmental versus genetic effects on skeletal growth rates. Skeletal growth of P. eydouxi showed environmental but not genetic effects, resulting in doubling of growth in Pool 300 compared with Pool 400. There were no environmental or genetic effects on skeletal growth of P. lobata. Pool 300 had more frequent and longer durations of elevated seawater temperatures than Pool 400, characteristics likely to decrease rather than increase skeletal growth. Pool 300 also had higher nutrient levels and flow velocities than Pool 400, characteristics that may increase skeletal growth. However, higher nutrient levels would be expected to increase skeletal growth in both species, but there was no difference between the pools in P. lobata growth. P. eydouxi is much more common in high-energy environments than P. lobata; thus the higher flow velocities in Pool 300 than in Pool 400 may have positively affected skeletal growth of P. eydouxi while not having a detectable effect on P. lobata. The greater skeletal growth of P. eydouxi in Pool 300 occurred despite the presence of clade D zooxanthellae in several source colonies in Pool 300, a genotype known to result in greater heat resistance but slower skeletal growth. Increased skeletal growth rates in higher water motion may provide P. eydouxi a competitive advantage in shallow, high-energy enviromnents where competition for space is intense. ?? 2008 by University of Hawai'i Press. All rights reserved.

  19. Anomalous Ba/Ca signals associated with low temperature stresses in Porites corals from Daya Bay, northern South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Chen, Tianran; Yu, Kefu; Li, Shu; Chen, Tegu; Shi, Qi

    2011-01-01

    Barium to calcium (Ba/Ca) ratio in corals has been considered as a useful geochemical proxy for upwelling, river flood and other oceanic processes. However, recent studies indicated that additional environmental or biological factors can influence the incorporation of Ba into coral skeletons. In this study, Ba/Ca ratios of two Porites corals collected from Daya Bay, northern South China Sea were analyzed. Ba/Ca signals in the two corals were 'anomalous' in comparison with Ba behaviors seen in other near-shore corals influenced by upwelling or riverine runoff. Our Ba/Ca profiles displayed similar and remarkable patterns characterized by low and randomly fluctuating background signals periodically interrupted by sharp and large synchronous peaks, clearly indicating an environmental forcing. Further analysis indicated that the Ba/Ca profiles were not correlated with previously claimed environmental factors such as precipitation, coastal upwelling, anthropogenic activities or phytoplankton blooms in other areas. The maxima of Ba/Ca appeared to occur in the period of Sr/Ca maxima, coinciding with the winter minimum temperatures, which suggests that the anomalous high Ba/Ca signals were related to winter-time low sea surface temperature. We speculated that the Ba/Ca peaks in corals of the Daya Bay were most likely the results of enrichment of Ba-rich particles in their skeletons when coral polyps retracted under the stresses of anomalous winter low temperatures. In this case, Ba/Ca ratio in relatively high-latitude corals can be a potential proxy for tracing the low temperature stress.

  20. Decadal Variations in Western Pacific Warm Pool Dynamics as Evidenced by Porites Corals from Chuuk Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Massoll, J. L.; Wagner, A. J.; Anderson, D. M.; Lane, C.; Kim, J. K.; Lee, S. H.

    2014-12-01

    The Western Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) encompasses some of the warmest sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of the world oceans. This region influences seasonal and decadal variability of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and climate anomalies such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Long-term changes coupled with anomalous events like El Niño can greatly influence the position of the ITCZ and subsequently alter weather patterns on a global scale. WPWP dynamics may have contributed to the slowdown in global warming during the last decade. The processes that control these variations are complex, and gaining insight into these systems on decadal to centennial timescales is necessary to improve climate modeling and future predictions for drought or floods associated with global climate change. Chuuk Atoll (7°N, 152°E), located in the Federated States of Micronesia, is positioned within the WPWP at the northern extent of the mean boreal summer position of the ITCZ, making this location optimal for studying WPWP dynamics and ocean-atmosphere linkages. Two coral cores from the species Porites lobata were collected from the outer-atoll at Fannuk Island and the inner-atoll at Lobata Reef. Using stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) composition and Sr/Ca trace metal analysis, the sites were identified as distinct hydrologic environments. Low seasonal variability in δ18O and Sr/Ca values at the outer-atoll site indicates a hydrologically-open system that is strongly influenced by the WPWP. At the inner-atoll site, δ18O and Sr/Ca values reflect a small seasonal SST cycle. In this hydrologically-restricted basin, the δ18O record is likely responding to salinity variations influenced by local climatology, specifically anomalously high or low precipitation events associated with ENSO. The average δ18O between 2003-2011 was 0.5‰ lighter at the inner-atoll site. These values can be interpreted as warmer sea surface temperatures and/or lower sea surface salinities

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grottoli, Andréa G.

    2002-06-01

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

  2. Coral reef degradation and metabolic performance of the scleractinian coral Porites lutea under anthropogenic impact along the NE coast of Hainan Island, South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roder, Cornelia; Wu, Zhongjie; Richter, Claudio; Zhang, Jing

    2013-04-01

    Hainan's coast provides favorable climatic, geochemical and biogeographic conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs in China. Observations in five reefs along the NE coast of Hainan showed, however, that the overall density of mobile macrofauna is low and key functional groups such as browsing, scraping or excavating herbivore fish are missing altogether. Coral diseases, partial mortality or tissue degradation are abundant and growth of macroalgal space competitors extensive. Signs of eutrophication, siltation and destructive fishing practices are evident resulting in a strongly altered environment unfavorable for coral recruitment success and survival. Acclimation to the anthropogenically altered conditions in the massive coral Porites lutea occurs at the cost of a decreased photosynthesis: respiration ratio reducing the regenerative capacity of these key framebuilding organisms. Even though, on the organismal level, corals are able to cope with these stressful conditions, a shift is imminent on the ecosystem level from a coral reef to a macroalgae-dominated community if land-based disturbance prevails unabated.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aeby, G.S.; Williams, G.J.; Franklin, E.C.; Haapkyla, J.; Harvell, C.D.; Neale, S.; Page, C.A.; Raymundo, L.; Vargas-Angel, B.; Willis, B.L.; Work, T.M.; Davy, S.K.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wall, M.; Nehrke, G.

    2012-11-01

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

  13. Ecological Complexity of Coral Recruitment Processes: Effects of Invertebrate Herbivores on Coral Recruitment and Growth Depends Upon Substratum Properties and Coral Species

    PubMed Central

    Davies, Sarah W.; Matz, Mikhail V.; Vize, Peter D.

    2013-01-01

    Background The transition from planktonic planula to sessile adult corals occurs at low frequencies and post settlement mortality is extremely high. Herbivores promote settlement by reducing algal competition. This study investigates whether invertebrate herbivory might be modulated by other ecological factors such as substrata variations and coral species identity. Methodology/Principal Findings The experiment was conducted at the Flower Garden Banks, one of the few Atlantic reefs not experiencing considerable degradation. Tiles of differing texture and orientation were kept in bins surrounded by reef (24 m). Controls contained no herbivores while treatment bins contained urchins (Diadema antillarum) or herbivorous gastropods (Cerithium litteratum). Juvenile corals settling naturally were monitored by photography for 14 months to evaluate the effects of invertebrate herbivory and substratum properties. Herbivory reduced algae cover in urchin treatments. Two genera of brooding coral juveniles were observed, Agaricia and Porites, both of which are common but not dominant on adjacent reef. No broadcast spawning corals were observed on tiles. Overall, juveniles were more abundant in urchin treatments and on vertical, rough textured surfaces. Although more abundant, Agaricia juveniles were smaller in urchin treatments, presumably due to destructive overgrazing. Still, Agaricia growth increased with herbivory and substrata texture-orientation interactions were observed with reduced growth on rough tiles in control treatments and increased growth on vertical tiles in herbivore treatments. In contrast to Agaricia, Porites juveniles were larger on horizontal tiles, irrespective of herbivore treatment. Mortality was affected by substrata orientation with vertical surfaces increasing coral survival. Conclusions/Significance We further substantiate that invertebrate herbivores play major roles in early settlement processes of corals and highlight the need for deeper

  14. Rock magnetic characterization and potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder of fossil Porites corals in Ishigaki Island, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumagai, Y.; Nakamura, N.; Sato, T.

    2015-12-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) is produced by the cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere and is utilized for reconstructing the past solar activity using tree rings. This 14C production is also controlled by the geomagnetic field, and the short-term (at the ~ 10-100 yr duration) movement of the geomagnetic pole to the low latitude, like geomagnetic jerks, might leads to a higher 14C production rate. In order to reconstruct the past solar activity from the 14C concentration, we should know the movement of geomagnetic pole position and the field intensity in a decadal to centennial time series. Previous reconstructions of geomagnetic paleosecular variation lack to reconstruct the short-term variation of geomagnetic field in a decadal or centennial scale. Annual banded skeletons of hermatipic corals (e.g., Porites) might possess an enormous potential as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder due to their continuous growths through hundreds of years at a rapid rate (up to 2 cm/yr), although usual corals show an extremely weak intensity of remanence and its low stability. Here we found that recently-ceased Porites coral skeletons thrown up on beach of the Ishigaki Island (SW Japan) possess measurable natural remanence intensities and conducted thermal and AF demagnetization of coral skeletons. The characteristic remanence directions of almost all samples are relatively stable with some fluctuations. However, some samples exhibit obviously different remanence directions from its average with calcite peaks of X-ray diffraction analysis. It is indicated that the magnetic mineral assemblage consists of a dominant biogenic-origin single-domain magnetite and a minor detrital component from FORC measurement, FMR measurement and petrological observations by FE-SEM of acid-treated residuals of our corals. Our findings suggest that Porites coral framework samples have a potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder with careful examination of calcite content.

  15. Porites corals as recorders of mining and environmental impacts: Misima Island, Papua New Guinea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fallon, Stewart J.; White , Jamie C.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2002-01-01

    In 1989 open-cut gold mining commenced on Misima Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Open-cut mining by its nature causes a significant increase in sedimentation via the exposure of soils to the erosive forces of rain and runoff. This increased sedimentation affected the nearby fringing coral reef to varying degrees, ranging from coral mortality (smothering) to relatively minor short-term impacts. The sediment associated with the mining operation consists of weathered quartz feldspar, greenstone, and schist. These rocks have distinct chemical characteristics (rare earth element patterns and high abundances of manganese, zinc, and lead) and are entering the near-shore environment in considerably higher than normal concentrations. Using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), we analyzed eight colonies (two from high sedimentation, two transitional, two minor, and two unaffected control sites) for Y, La, Ce, Mn, Zn, and Pb. All sites show low steady background levels prior to the commencement of mining in 1988. Subsequently, all sites apart from the control show dramatic increases of Y, La, and Ce associated with the increased sedimentation as well as rapid decreases following the cessation of mining. The elements Zn and Pb exhibit a different behavior, increasing in concentration after 1989 when ore processing began and one year after initial mining operations. Elevated levels of Zn and Pb in corals has continued well after the cessation of mining, indicating ongoing transport into the reef of these metals via sulfate-rich waters. Rare earth element (REE) abundance patterns measured in two corals show significant differences compared to Coral Sea seawater. The corals display enrichments in the light and middle REEs while the heavy REEs are depleted relative to the seawater pattern. This suggests that the nearshore seawater REE pattern is dominated by island sedimentation. Trace element abundances of Misima Island corals clearly record

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  17. Relationship Between Photosynthetic Light Dosage and Metabolic Isotope Effects in the Long-term Cultured Porites Coral Skeleton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Omata, T.; Suzuki, A.; Sato, T.; Murakami, A.; Kawahata, H.; Maruyama, T.

    2008-12-01

    A long-term culture experiment of Porites spp. corals were conducted at different light dosages (light intensity, 100, 300, or 500 micro mol m-2 s-1; daily light period, 10 or 12 h) at constant temperature to examine the contribution of photosynthetic activity to skeletal carbon isotope composition. As the daily dose of photosynthetically active radiation increased, the rate of annual extension also increased. Mean isotope compositions shifted; the carbon isotope compositions became heavier and the oxygen isotope compositions became lighter at higher radiation dose. Whereas chlorophyll a (Chl a) content per both unit area and cell decreased as light dosage increased, carotenoids/Chl a increased. Skeletal oxygen isotope compositions decrease coincided with increasing skeletal growth rate, indicating the influence of so-called kinetic isotope effects. The observed carbon isotope compositions increase should be subject to both kinetic and metabolic isotope effects. Using a vector approach in the carbon-oxygen isotope compositions' plane (Omata et al., 2005), we discriminated between kinetic and metabolic isotope effects on carbon isotope compositions. The metabolic carbon isotopic fractionation-light was similar to the photosynthesis-irradiance curve, indicating the direct contribution of photosynthetic activity to metabolic isotope effects. In contrast, the fractionation of carbon isotope related to kinetic isotope effects gradually increased as the growth rate increased.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  3. First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Chelliah, Alvin; Amar, Halimi Bin; Hyde, Julian; Yewdall, Katie; Steinberg, Peter D; Guest, James R

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites) participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia. PMID:25737817

  4. The effects of ultraviolet radiation on growth and bleaching in three species of Hawaiian coral

    SciTech Connect

    Goodman, G.D. )

    1990-01-09

    Long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation is harmful to many organisms, including hermatypic corals, which obtain much of their nutrition from photosynthetic zooxanthellae. Therefore, increased UV radiation from atmospheric ozone depletion could inhibit growth of such corals. Moreover, coral bleaching, which has been attributed to loss of pigment and/or expulsion of zooxanthellae, may be a specific response to UV light. Does UV-A reduce skeletal growth or influence population density and pigment content of zooxanthellae In addition, do zooxanthellae migrate to shaded areas of the colony to avoid ultraviolet light Using alizarin red stain and suitable filters, I compared the stain and suitable filters, I compared the effects of UV-A (320-400nm) and full-spectrum UV (280-400nm) on the skeletal growth of two Hawaiian corals, Montipora verrucosa, Pocillopora damicornis, in situ. In the perforate corals, M. Verrucosa and Porites compressa, I measured concentration of zooxanthellae and their chlorophyll content to quantify bleaching in response to UV light. Reduction in skeletal growth by the two corals in response to different ranges of UV light appears to be species specific. Bleaching by UV appears to be characterized by an initial loss of pigment followed by the expulsion and migration of the zooxanthellae to shaded areas of the colony. Differences in tolerance and adaptation to decreasing ozone levels and increasing UV light should confer a competitive advantage on various species and morphologies of reef-building corals.

  5. Holocene key coral species in the Northwest Pacific: indicators of reef formation and reef ecosystem responses to global climate change and anthropogenic stresses in the near future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hongo, Chuki

    2012-03-01

    The geological record of key coral species that contribute to reef formation and maintenance of reef ecosystems is important for understanding the ecosystem response to global-scale climate change and anthropogenic stresses in the near future. Future responses can be predicted from accumulated data on Holocene reef species identified in drillcore and from data on raised reef terraces. The present study analyzes a dataset based on 27 drillcores, raised reef terraces, and 134 radiocarbon and U-Th ages from reefs of the Northwest Pacific, with the aim of examining the role of key coral species in reef growth and maintenance for reef ecosystem during Holocene sea-level change. The results indicate a latitudinal change in key coral species: arborescent Acropora (Acropora intermedia and Acropora muricata) was the dominant reef builder at reef crests in the tropics, whereas Porites (Porites australiensis, Porites lutea, and Porites lobata) was the dominant contributor to reef growth in the subtropics between 10,000 and 7000 cal. years BP (when the rate of sea-level rise was 10 m/ka). Acropora digitifera, Acropora hyacinthus, Acropora robusta/A. abrotanoides, Isopora palifera, Favia stelligera, and Goniastrea retiformis from the corymbose and tabular Acropora facies were the main key coral species at reef crests between 7000 and 5000 cal. years BP (when the rate of sea-level rise was 5 m/ka) and during the following period of stable sea-level. Massive Porites (P. australiensis, P. lutea, and P. lobata) contributed to reef growth in shallow lagoons during the period of stable sea level. Key coral species from the corymbose and tabular Acropora facies have the potential to build reefs and maintain ecosystems in the near future under a global sea-level rise of 2-6 m/ka, as do key coral species from the arborescent Acropora facies and massive Porites facies, which show vigorous growth and are tolerant to relatively deep-water, low-energy environments. However, these species

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

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

  7. Species-specific declines in the linear extension of branching corals at a subtropical reef, Lord Howe Island

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Kristen D.; Heron, Scott F.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2015-06-01

    Reef-building corals are extremely sensitive to changing temperature regimes, such that sustained increases in ocean temperatures are generally expected to have negative effects on coral growth and survivorship. At high-latitude reefs, however, projected increases in ocean temperature may actually increase coral growth (relaxing constraints imposed by cool winter temperatures), though this will depend upon on the rate and extent of declines in aragonite saturation, which is already much lower at high latitudes. This study quantified linear extension rates of six scleractinian corals, Acropora yongei, Isopora cuneata, Pocillopora damicornis, Porites heronensis, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata, at Lord Howe Island in 2010/11. Contemporary growth rates were compared to equivalent data collected in 1994/95. There was marked interspecific variation in growth rates, with A. yongei growing almost twice the rate of all other species. Temporal changes in annual growth also varied among species. Growth rates of both A. yongei and Pocillopora damicornis were 30 % of that recorded in 1994/95. However, growth rates of Porites heronensis had not changed. Declines in the growth rates of these branching species may be attributable to declines in aragonite saturation or increases in summertime temperatures above limits for optimal growth, but either way it appears that climate change is having negative effects on corals, even at subtropical locations.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. A high resolution δ13C record in a modern Porites lobata coral: Insights into controls on skeletal δ13C

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allison, Nicola; Finch, Adrian A.; EIMF

    2012-05-01

    δ13C was determined at a high spatial resolution by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) across a 1 year section of a modern Porites lobata coral skeleton from Hawaii. Skeletal δ13C is dominated by large oscillations of 5-7‰ that typically cover skeletal distances equivalent to periods of ˜14-40 days. These variations do not reflect seawater temperature and it is unlikely that they reflect variations in the δ13C of local seawater. We observe no correlation between skeletal δ13C and the pH of the calcification fluid (estimated from previous measurements of skeletal δ11B). We conclude that either the proportion of skeletal carbon derived from metabolic CO2 is not reflected by estimated ECF pH (as the [CO2] in the overlying coral tissue varies) and/or the δ13C composition of the metabolic CO2 is highly variable. We also observe no correlation between skeletal δ13C and previous δ18O SIMS measurements. Variations in skeletal δ13C and δ18O do not have a common timing, providing no evidence that skeletal δ13C and δ18O vary in response to a single factor. This suggests that skeletal δ13C is principally driven by variations in the δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 rather than by the abundance of metabolic CO2, which would also affect skeletal δ18O. The δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 reflects the processes of photosynthesis, heterotrophic feeding and respiration in the overlying coral tissue. Corals catabolise stored lipid reserves to meet energetic demands when photosynthesis conditions are sub-optimal. Variations in the amounts and types of reserves utilised could induce changes in the δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 and the resultant skeleton which are temporally offset from skeletal δ18O records.

  10. 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.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allison, Nicola; Finch, Adrian A.; EIMF

    2010-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  19. Species-specific responses of corals to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs on Okinawa Island, Japan, over a 15-year period (1995-2009).

    PubMed

    Hongo, Chuki; Yamano, Hiroya

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Hongo, Chuki; Yamano, Hiroya

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  3. Heterotrophic plasticity and resilience in bleached corals.

    PubMed

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

    2006-04-27

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

  4. Large-amplitude internal waves sustain coral health during thermal stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Gertraud M.; Wall, Marlene; Taylor, Marc; Jantzen, Carin; Richter, Claudio

    2016-09-01

    Ocean warming is a major threat for coral reefs causing widespread coral bleaching and mortality. Potential refugia are thus crucial for coral survival. Exposure to large-amplitude internal waves (LAIW) mitigated heat stress and ensured coral survival and recovery during and after an extreme heat anomaly. The physiological status of two common corals, Porites lutea and Pocillopora meandrina, was monitored in host and symbiont traits, in response to LAIW-exposure throughout the unprecedented 2010 heat anomaly in the Andaman Sea. LAIW-exposed corals of both species survived and recovered, while LAIW-sheltered corals suffered partial and total mortality in P. lutea and P. meandrina, respectively. LAIW are ubiquitous in the tropics and potentially generate coral refuge areas. As thermal stress to corals is expected to increase in a warming ocean, the mechanisms linking coral bleaching to ocean dynamics will be crucial to predict coral survival on a warming planet.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  12. 77 FR 30261 - Petition To List 83 Species of Coral as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-05-22

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-01-17

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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Coral diseases have caused a substantial decline in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. To date, more than 30 distinct diseases of scleractinian corals have been reported, which cause progressive tissue loss and/or affect coral growth, reproductive capacity, recruitment, species diversity and the abundance of reef-associated organisms. While coral disease research has increased over the last 4 decades, very little is known about coral diseases in the Western Indian Ocean. Surveys conducted at multiple sites in Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte between August 2010 and June 2012 revealed the presence of 6 main coral diseases: black band disease (BBD), white syndrome (WS), pink line syndrome (PLS), growth anomalies (GA), skeleton eroding band (SEB) and Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Overall, disease prevalence was higher in Reunion (7.5 ± 2.2%; mean ± SE) compared to South Africa (3.9 ± 0.8%) and Mayotte (2.7 ± 0.3%). Across locations, Acropora and Porites were the genera most susceptible to disease. Spatial variability was detected in both Reunion and South Africa, with BBD and WS more prevalent on shallow than deep reefs. There was also evidence of seasonality in 2 diseases: the prevalence of BBD and WS was higher in summer than winter. This was the first study to investigate the ecology of coral diseases, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, on Western Indian Ocean reefs, and surveys should be expanded to confirm these patterns. PMID:26036832

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

  18. detrimentally affects tissue regeneration of Red Sea corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horwitz, Rael; Fine, Maoz

    2014-09-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is threatening the future of coral reef ecosystems. Mounting experimental evidence suggests that OA negatively impacts fundamental life functions of scleractinian corals, including growth and sexual reproduction. Although regeneration is regarded as a chief life function in scleractinian corals and essential to maintain the colony's integrity, the effect of OA on regeneration processes has not yet been investigated. To evaluate the effects of OA on regeneration, the common Indo-Pacific corals Porites sp., Favia favus, Acropora eurystoma, and Stylophora pistillata were inflicted with lesions (314-350 mm2, depending on species) and incubated in different pCO2: (1) ambient seawater (400 µatm, pH 8.1), (2) intermediate (1,800 µatm, pH 7.6), and (3) high (4,000 µatm, pH 7.3) for extended periods of time (60-120 d). While all coral species after 60 d had significantly higher tissue regeneration in ambient conditions as compared to the intermediate and high treatments, reduction in regeneration rate was more pronounced in the slow-growing massive Porites sp. and F. favus than the relatively fast-growing, branching S. pistillata and A. eurystoma. This coincided with reduced tissue biomass of Porites sp., F. favus, and A. eurystoma in higher pCO2, but not in S. pistillata. Porites sp., F. favus, and S. pistillata also experienced a decrease in Symbiodinium density in higher pCO2, while in A. eurystoma there was no change. We hypothesize that a lowered regenerative capacity under elevated pCO2 may be related to resource trade-offs, energy cost of acid/base regulation, and/or decrease in total energy budget. This is the first study to demonstrate that elevated pCO2 could have a compounding influence on coral regeneration following injury, potentially affecting the capacity of reef corals to recover following physical disturbance.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Red sea corals as biomonitors of trace metal pollution.

    PubMed

    Hanna, R G; Muir, G L

    1990-05-01

    Red Sea corals have been found to be biomonitors of trace metal pollution. A comparative study was undertaken on three species from a polluted area near a desalination plant at Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and from an unpolluted area. The results show that corals take-up trace elements from their aquatic environment and thereby act to record changes in the composition of that environment. Variations in the composition of skeletons and soft tissues of corals have been correlated with changes in sea water composition. Three coral species, Porites lutea, Goniastrea retiformis and Pocillopora verrucosa have been analysed for Hg, Cu, Zn, Pb, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cd, V, Al, Cr, Mg, B, Ca, and Sr in both skeletal and soft tissues. Results show that corals in the polluted areas have significantly higher concentrations of trace elements compared to that of corals from unpolluted areas.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

  4. Link between sewage-derived nitrogen pollution and coral disease severity in Guam.

    PubMed

    Redding, Jamey E; Myers-Miller, Roxanna L; Baker, David M; Fogel, Marilyn; Raymundo, Laurie J; Kim, Kiho

    2013-08-15

    The goals of this study were to evaluate the contribution of sewage-derived N to reef flat communities in Guam and to assess the impact of N inputs on coral disease. We used stable isotope analysis of macroalgae and a soft coral, sampled bimonthly, as a proxy for N dynamics, and surveyed Porites spp., a dominant coral taxon on Guam's reefs, for white syndrome disease severity. Results showed a strong influence of sewage-derived N in nearshore waters, with δ(15)N values varying as a function of species sampled, site, and sampling date. Increases in sewage-derived N correlated significantly with increases in the severity of disease among Porites spp., with δ(15)N values accounting for more than 48% of the variation in changes in disease severity. The anticipated military realignment and related population increase in Guam are expected to lead to increased white syndrome infections and other coral diseases.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Swierts, Thomas; Vermeij, Mark Ja

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    McKeon, C Seabird; Moore, Jenna M

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Calcifying coral abundance near low-pH springs: implications for future ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crook, E. D.; Potts, D.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Hernandez, L.; Paytan, A.

    2012-03-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 and its equilibration with surface ocean seawater is lowering both the pH and carbonate saturation state (Ω) of the oceans. Numerous calcifying organisms, including reef-building corals, may be severely impacted by declining aragonite and calcite saturation, but the fate of coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification remains largely unexplored. Naturally low saturation (Ω ~ 0.5) low pH (6.70-7.30) groundwater has been discharging for millennia at localized submarine springs (called "ojos") at Puerto Morelos, México near the Mesoamerican Reef. This ecosystem provides insights into potential long term responses of coral ecosystems to low saturation conditions. In-situ chemical and biological data indicate that both coral species richness and coral colony size decline with increasing proximity to low-saturation, low-pH waters at the ojo centers. Only three scleractinian coral species ( Porites astreoides, Porites divaricata, and Siderastrea radians) occur in undersaturated waters at all ojos examined. Because these three species are rarely major contributors to Caribbean reef framework, these data may indicate that today's more complex frame-building species may be replaced by smaller, possibly patchy, colonies of only a few species along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The growth of these scleractinian coral species at undersaturated conditions illustrates that the response to ocean acidification is likely to vary across species and environments; thus, our data emphasize the need to better understand the mechanisms of calcification to more accurately predict future impacts of ocean acidification.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  15. Species-diverse coral communities on an artificial substrate at a tuna farm in Amami, Japan.

    PubMed

    Hata, Hiroki; Hirabayashi, Isao; Hamaoka, Hideki; Mukai, Yoshio; Omori, Koji; Fukami, Hironobu

    2013-04-01

    Tuna-farming is expanding worldwide, necessitating the monitoring/managing of its effects on the natural environment. In Japan, tuna-farming is conducted on coral reefs that have been damaged by mass-bleaching events and crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks. This study focused on the coral community on an artificial substrate of tuna-farm to reveal the possible effects of tuna-farming on the natural environment. Corals flourished on ropes suspended in the farm in the Amami Islands, southern Japan. These were moored 3 m below the sea-surface in 50-m-deep water. The coral community on the rope was analyzed and compared with those on natural substrata on two adjacent COTS-damaged reefs and with that in a protected reef. Corals were monitored throughout a year. Sixty coral species grew on the ropes, that corresponds to 27.3% of the 220 species known from Amami. The coral community was unique, dominated by massive faviid corals. On the ropes, the water temperature rarely exceeded 30.0 °C and no corals on the rope were severely bleached or covered by sedimentation during the observations. The tuna-farm infrastructure provided corals with a suitable habitat, and species-rich coral communities were established. These coral communities are an important node connecting tuna-farms and the natural environment.

  16. 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

  17. 78 FR 12702 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef-Building Coral Species; Proposed...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-25

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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Semi-permeable species boundaries in the coral genus Madracis: introgression in a brooding coral system.

    PubMed

    Frade, P R; Reyes-Nivia, M C; Faria, J; Kaandorp, J A; Luttikhuizen, P C; Bak, R P M

    2010-12-01

    Introgressive hybridization is described in several phylogenetic studies of mass-spawning corals. However, the prevalence of this process among brooding coral species is unclear. We used a mitochondrial (mtDNA: nad5) and two nuclear (nDNA: ATPSα and SRP54) intron markers to explore species barriers in the coral genus Madracis and address the role of hybridization in brooding systems. Specimens of six Caribbean Madracis morphospecies were collected from 5 to 60 m depth at Buoy One, Curaçao, supplemented by samples from Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and Bermuda. Polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis were coupled to detect distinct alleles within single colonies. The recurrent nDNA phylogenetic non-monophyly among taxa is only challenged by Madracis senaria, the single monophyletic species within the genus. nDNA AMOVAs indicated overall statistical divergence (0.1% significance level) among species but pairwise comparisons of genetic differentiation revealed some gene exchange between Madracis taxa. mtDNA sequences clustered in two main groups representing typical shallow and deep water Madracis species. Madracis pharensis shallow and deep colonies (with threshold at about 23-24 m) clustered in different mtDNA branches, together with their depth-sympatric congenerics. This divergence was repeated for the nDNA (ATPSα) suggestive of distinct M. pharensis depth populations. These matched the vertical distribution of the dinoflagellate symbionts hosted by M. pharensis, with Symbiodinium ITS2 type B7 in the shallows but type B15 in the deep habitats, suggesting symbiont-related disruptive selection. Recurrent non-monophyly of Madracis taxa and high levels of shared polymorphism reflected in ambiguous phylogenetic networks indicate that hybridization is likely to have played a role in the evolution of the genus. Using coalescent forward-in-time simulations, lineage sorting alone was rejected as an explanation to the SRP54 genetic variation

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

    PubMed

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Vollmer, Steven V

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Maor-Landaw, Keren

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Maor-Landaw, Keren; Levy, Oren

    2016-01-01

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

  8. Use of scleractinian corals to indicate marine pollution in the northern Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan.

    PubMed

    Barakat, S A; Al-Rousan, S; Al-Trabeen, M S

    2015-02-01

    The actual and fatal concentrations of selected heavy metals, including cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc in corals from the Gulf of Aqaba were determined. Several living coral samples of different species (e.g., Porites) were collected from shallow depths (of about 5 m) at a number of sites along the Jordanian Gulf of Aqaba coast. The coral samples were collected using either a pneumatic diamond drill corer (for Porites) or a hammer and chisel (for other branched species). Some of the corals that had been collected were analyzed for heavy metals using atomic absorption spectrometry, and other samples were used in incubation experiments. The heavy metal concentrations were determined separately in the coral skeleton and the tissue layer. Heavy metal concentrations have not previously been determined in corals from the Gulf of Aqaba. We conclude that corals are suitable for use as proxy tools for assessing environmental pollution (i.e., they are bioindicators) in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. Therefore, this study provides useful information on the degree of heavy metal contamination in the study area.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  11. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Velásquez, Johanna; Sánchez, Juan A.

    2015-01-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  14. Coral reproduction in Western Australia.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Coral reproduction in Western Australia.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Allelochemicals produced by Caribbean macroalgae and cyanobacteria have species-specific effects on reef coral microorganisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morrow, K. M.; Paul, V. J.; Liles, M. R.; Chadwick, N. E.

    2011-06-01

    Coral populations have precipitously declined on Caribbean reefs while algal abundance has increased, leading to enhanced competitive damage to corals, which likely is mediated by the potent allelochemicals produced by both macroalgae and benthic cyanobacteria. Allelochemicals may affect the composition and abundance of coral-associated microorganisms that control host responses and adaptations to environmental change, including susceptibility to bacterial diseases. Here, we demonstrate that extracts of six Caribbean macroalgae and two benthic cyanobacteria have both inhibitory and stimulatory effects on bacterial taxa cultured from the surfaces of Caribbean corals, macroalgae, and corals exposed to macroalgal extracts. The growth of 54 bacterial isolates was monitored in the presence of lipophilic and hydrophilic crude extracts derived from Caribbean macroalgae and cyanobacteria using 96-well plate bioassays. All 54 bacterial cultures were identified by ribotyping. Lipophilic extracts from two species of Dictyota brown algae inhibited >50% of the reef coral bacteria assayed, and hydrophilic compounds from Dictyota menstrualis particularly inhibited Vibrio bacteria, a genus associated with several coral diseases. In contrast, both lipo- and hydrophilic extracts from 2 species of Lyngbya cyanobacteria strongly stimulated bacterial growth. The brown alga Lobophora variegata produced hydrophilic compounds with broad-spectrum antibacterial effects, which inhibited 93% of the bacterial cultures. Furthermore, bacteria cultured from different locations (corals vs. macroalgae vs. coral surfaces exposed to macroalgal extracts) responded differently to algal extracts. These results reveal that extracts from macroalgae and cyanobacteria have species-specific effects on the composition of coral-microbial assemblages, which in turn may increase coral host susceptibility to disease and result in coral mortality.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-29

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

  1. Differential survival of coral transplants on various substrates under elevated water temperatures.

    PubMed

    Yap, Helen T

    2004-08-01

    Closely related scleractinian coral species that exhibited similar survival patterns under relatively normal field conditions responded very differently to the occurrence of an environmental disturbance. The two species studied were Porites cylindrica and Porites rus which occur in the same reef zones in shallow reef flats. Transplants of both species were evenly distributed and attached to three different types of substrate: live coral colonies of P. cylindrica, dead coral colonies (also of P. cylindrica), and epoxy coated metal grids that were raised above the sandy substrate. With the onset of above-normal water temperatures due to the El Niño episode of 1998, P. cylindrica transplants immediately showed signs of bleaching stress and tissue necrosis, followed by algal overgrowth and mortality soon afterwards. In contrast, transplants of P. rus bleached more slowly and suffered less mortality, with a few actually showing signs of recovery at the end of the experimental period which covered a total of 14 weeks. These differences in responses could be attributed to properties of the symbiotic zooxanthellae, of the host coral tissue itself, or both. Over-all, survival was good on the metal grids (average of 35%), and on the live coral (average of 22%). It was poor on the dead coral (average of 6%). The metal grids as well as live coral tissue apparently provided a favorable substrate for the attached coral fragments, even for those of a different species. Under the conditions of this particular study, attachment of live coral fragments on already dead colonies for the purpose of increasing live coral cover on the reef did not yield favorable results. This is an area that requires further investigation. PMID:15341824

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  3. Miocene reef corals: A review

    SciTech Connect

    Frost, S.H.

    1988-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  5. Gross and Microscopic Lesions in Corals from Micronesia.

    PubMed

    Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Hughen, K A

    2016-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates. PMID:25765523

  6. Gross and microscopic lesions in corals from Micronesia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Hughen, Konrad A.

    2015-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates.

  7. Gross and Microscopic Lesions in Corals from Micronesia.

    PubMed

    Work, T M; Aeby, G S; Hughen, K A

    2016-01-01

    The authors documented gross and microscopic morphology of lesions in corals on 7 islands spanning western, southern, and eastern Micronesia, sampling 76 colonies comprising 30 species of corals among 18 genera, with Acropora, Porites, and Montipora dominating. Tissue loss comprised the majority of gross lesions sampled (41%), followed by discoloration (30%) and growth anomaly (29%). Of 31 cases of tissue loss, most lesions were subacute (48%), followed by acute and chronic (26% each). Of 23 samples with discoloration, most were dark discoloration (40%), with bleaching and other discoloration each constituting 30%. Of 22 growth anomalies, umbonate growth anomalies composed half, with exophytic, nodular, and rugose growth anomalies composing the remainder. On histopathology, for 9 cases of dark discoloration, fungal infections predominated (77%); for 7 bleached corals, depletion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis made up a majority of microscopic diagnoses (57%); and for growth anomalies other than umbonate, hyperplasia of the basal body wall was the most common microscopic finding (63%). For the remainder of the gross lesions, no single microscopic finding constituted >50% of the total. Host response varied with the agent present on histology. Fragmentation of tissues was most often associated with algae (60%), whereas necrosis dominated (53%) for fungi. Two newly documented potentially symbiotic tissue-associated metazoans were seen in Porites and Montipora. Findings of multiple potential etiologies for a given gross lesion highlight the importance of incorporating histopathology in coral disease surveys. This study also expands the range of corals infected with cell-associated microbial aggregates.

  8. Coral disease dynamics in the central Philippines.

    PubMed

    Kaczmarsky, Longin T

    2006-03-23

    Limited quantitative research has been conducted on coral disease in the Philippines and baseline data are much needed. Field surveys for prevalence and distribution patterns were conducted from November 2002 to August 2003. Sites included the islands of Negros, Cebu, Siquijor, Panglao, Olango, Sumilon, Bantayan, Pescador, Balicassag and Palawan. In 154 belt transects, 10 026 Porites colonies were examined at 28 sites covering 3080 m2. Two syndromes, Porites ulcerative white spot (PUWS) and coral tumors, occurred at high prevalence. Tumors as high as 39.1% occurred among massive Porites, and PUWS was as high as 53.7% among massive and branching Porites. In 8 mo, 116 tagged colonies showed slow progression and low mortality. Along a 41 km human impact gradient centered on Dumaguete City (Negros), 15 sites were examined. Correlation analyses linked higher disease prevalence to anthropogenic influence (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient [r(s)] = -0.54, p = 0.04 for tumors and r(s) = -0.69, p = 0.005 for PUWS). In most sites disease prevalence was lower than in the sites near Dumaguete. High PUWS prevalence near uninhabited Sumilon Island appeared to be linked to the highly diseased reefs near Dumaguete City due to transmission of disease along a cross-shelf front formed between the Tañon Strait and Bohol Sea. Other observations included 12 potential new host species for PUWS (4 new genera and 1 octocorallia) and 5 likely new hosts for black band disease (BBD) in the Philippines, and a relatively high prevalence (7.8%) of BBD in 1 site in western Palawan.

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

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Hay, Mark E.

    2008-01-01

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

  10. The effects of water flow and sedimentation on interactions between massive Porites and algal turf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, Jennifer C.; Tootell, Jesse S.; Carpenter, Robert C.

    2014-09-01

    Interactions between scleractinian corals and benthic algae can be an important process structuring reef communities, yet interaction dynamics are not fixed and may be influenced by abiotic factors such as sedimentation, a process often underlying reef degradation. However, rates of sedimentation and the effects of trapped sediments may be influenced by water flow. The first goal of this study was to quantify gradients in sedimentation and flow along fringing and back reefs of the north shore of Moorea, French Polynesia, and determine whether such gradients correlate with changes in the frequency and outcomes of massive Porites-algal turf interactions. On the back reef, the frequency of Porites-algal turf interactions and the competitive success of algal turfs increased significantly with decreasing flow. Sedimentation, however, was not a significant driver of the observed patterns. Along fringing reefs, in the absence of a flow gradient, it was the gradient in sedimentation that best explained spatial variation in Porites-algal turf interaction frequencies and the competitive success of algal turfs. The second goal was to quantify the separate and combined effects of flow and sedimentation on Porites-algal turf interactions in a laboratory setting. The combined effects of low flow and sedimentation significantly increased the area of Porites tissue damaged when in contact with algal turf, while high flow attenuated the negative effects of sedimentation. Together, these results implicate flow and sedimentation as important drivers of biological interactions between massive Porites and algal turf.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-10

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

  15. Corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf as models for thermotolerant reef-builders: prevalence of clade C3 Symbiodinium, host fluorescence and ex situ temperature tolerance.

    PubMed

    Hume, B; D'Angelo, C; Burt, J; Baker, A C; Riegl, B; Wiedenmann, J

    2013-07-30

    Corals in the Arabian/Persian Gulf endure summer temperatures of up to 36°C, making them ideal subjects to study the mechanisms underlying thermal tolerance. Unexpectedly, we found the "generalist" Symbiodinium clade C3 to be the prevalent symbiont among seven coral species from Abu Dhabi (UAE) waters. Moreover, C3 represented the only dominant symbiont type in Porites spp. from this region. The "thermotolerant" symbionts D1a and C15 were not encountered, indicating that the association with these symbionts cannot be the sole reason for the heat tolerance of Gulf corals. The association of Porites lobata with specific symbiont types (C3 vs. C15) in samples from habitats with very different temperature regimes (Abu Dhabi vs. Fiji) remained unaffected by laboratory culture. During temperature stress experiments specimens from both locations strongly downregulated green fluorescent protein (GFP)-like pigments. However, the Abu Dhabi samples were less prone to bleaching and showed lower mortality.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-22

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  20. Status of coral reef species at Chabahar Bay, Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran.

    PubMed

    Teymour, Rad A; Sanjani, M S

    2010-04-15

    This study was carried out in the coral growing zone at Chabahar Bay where it located at 25 degrees 17' N and 60 degrees 36'E. It is called horseshoe Bay, because of its semicircle shape. Some destroyer factors have been affected on the health of coral reefs in Chabahar Bay. Port constructions, dredging operations, spearfishing, anchorages and scuba diving activities were distinguished as the most important problems of coral reef in Chabahar Bay. This study was conducted in order to access Semi-Qualitative Indexes of corals in different areas of Chabahar Bay. Five stations were chosen in east and north part of the Bay, where the most construction activities happened. Rectangular Transect and CoralWatch Racket were used to determine the status of the corals. During study, two classes of Hexacoralia and Octocoralia with 15 families were recorded. Twenty one species of hard coral and 10 species of soft coral were recorded. Hexacoralia was recorded the higher number of family with 10 families and 21 species and Octocoralia was recorded the lower with 5 families and 10 species. Hard corals were dominant. The ranges of qualitative indexes showed, of five stations, three of them (stations 2, 4, 5) showed Good Development and two stations (stations 1, 3) showed Fair Development. For the Condition Index, two stations showed Good Condition (stations 1, 5) and two stations showed Fair Condition (stations 2, 3). Only station 4 showed Poor Condition. The ranges of the Succession Index Showed, four stations (stations 1, 2, 3, 4) were in Very poor Succession and one station (stations 5) showed Poor Succession.

  1. Species-area relationships in coral communities: evaluating mechanisms for a commonly observed pattern

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huntington, B. E.; Lirman, D.

    2012-12-01

    Landscape-scale attributes of patch size, spatial isolation, and topographic complexity are known to influence diversity and abundance in terrestrial and marine systems, but remain collectively untested for reef-building corals. To investigate the relationship between the coral assemblage and seascape variation in reef habitats, we took advantage of the distinct boundaries, spatial configurations, and topographic complexities among artificial reef patches to overcome the difficulties of manipulating natural reefs. Reef size (m2) was found to be the foremost predictor of coral richness in accordance with species-area relationship predictions. Larger reefs were also found to support significantly higher colony densities, enabling us to reject the null hypothesis of random placement (a sampling artifact) in favor of target area predictions that suggest greater rates of immigration on larger reefs. Unlike the pattern previously documented for reef fishes, topographic complexity was not a significant predictor of any coral assemblage response variable, despite the range of complexity values sampled. Lastly, coral colony density was best explained by both increasing reef size and decreasing reef spatial isolation, a pattern found exclusively among brooding species with shorter larval dispersal distances. We conclude that seascape attributes of reef size and spatial configuration within the seascape can influence the species richness and abundance of the coral community at relatively small spatial scales (<1 km). Specifically, we demonstrate how patterns in the coral communities that have naturally established on these manipulated reefs agree with the target area and island biogeography mechanisms to drive species-area relationships in reef-building corals. Based on the patterns documented in artificial reefs, habitat degradation that results in smaller, more isolated natural reefs may compromise coral diversity.

  2. Scleractinian coral species survive and recover from decalcification.

    PubMed

    Fine, Maoz; Tchernov, Dan

    2007-03-30

    Anthropogenic-driven accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and projected ocean acidification have raised concerns regarding the eventual impact on coral reefs. This study demonstrates that skeleton-producing corals grown in acidified experimental conditions are able to sustain basic life functions, including reproductive ability, in a sea anemone-like form and will resume skeleton building when reintroduced to normal modern marine conditions. These results support the existence of physiological refugia, allowing corals to alternate between nonfossilizing soft-body ecophenotypes and fossilizing skeletal forms in response to changes in ocean chemistry. This refugia, however, does not undermine the threats to reef ecosystems in a high carbon dioxide world.

  3. 78 FR 10601 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List 44 Species of Corals as...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-14

    ... cycle and include the order Anthoathecatae (hydrocorals). To date, 134 unique coral taxa have been found... role in the distribution of Alaska coral species, including nutrient flows and productivity, water... directly and indirectly affect cold water corals, yet no empirical studies to date have...

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-08-01

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

  5. Reef Fishes in Biodiversity Hotspots Are at Greatest Risk from Loss of Coral Species

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Regional-scale dominance of non-framework building corals on Caribbean reefs affects carbonate production and future reef growth.

    PubMed

    Perry, Chris T; Steneck, Robert S; Murphy, Gary N; Kench, Paul S; Edinger, Evan N; Smithers, Scott G; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-03-01

    Coral cover on Caribbean reefs has declined rapidly since the early 1980's. Diseases have been a major driver, decimating communities of framework building Acropora and Orbicella coral species, and reportedly leading to the emergence of novel coral assemblages often dominated by domed and plating species of the genera Agaricia, Porites and Siderastrea. These corals were not historically important Caribbean framework builders, and typically have much smaller stature and lower calcification rates, fuelling concerns over reef carbonate production and growth potential. Using data from 75 reefs from across the Caribbean we quantify: (i) the magnitude of non-framework building coral dominance throughout the region and (ii) the contribution of these corals to contemporary carbonate production. Our data show that live coral cover averages 18.2% across our sites and coral carbonate production 4.1 kg CaCO3  m(-2)  yr(-1) . However, non-framework building coral species dominate and are major carbonate producers at a high proportion of sites; they are more abundant than Acropora and Orbicella at 73% of sites; contribute an average 68% of the carbonate produced; and produce more than half the carbonate at 79% of sites. Coral cover and carbonate production rate are strongly correlated but, as relative abundance of non-framework building corals increases, average carbonate production rates decline. Consequently, the use of coral cover as a predictor of carbonate budget status, without species level production rate data, needs to be treated with caution. Our findings provide compelling evidence for the Caribbean-wide dominance of non-framework building coral taxa, and that these species are now major regional carbonate producers. However, because these species typically have lower calcification rates, continued transitions to states dominated by non-framework building coral species will further reduce carbonate production rates below 'predecline' levels, resulting in shifts

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  13. Short and long term toxicity of crude oil and oil dispersants to two representative coral species.

    PubMed

    Shafir, Shai; Van Rijn, Jaap; Rinkevich, Baruch

    2007-08-01

    Oil dispersants, the tool of choice for treating oil spills in tropical marine environments, is potentially harmful to marine life, including reef corals. In a previous study, we found that dispersed oil and oil dispersants are harmful to soft and hard coral species at early life stages. In this broader study, we employed a "nubbin assay" on more than 10 000 coral fragments to evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of dispersed oil fractions (DOFs) from six commercial dispersants, the dispersants and water-soluble-fractions (WSFs) of Egyptian crude oil, on two Indo Pacific branching coral species, Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora damicornis. Survivorship and growth of nubbins were recorded for up to 50 days following a single, short (24 h) exposure to toxicants in various concentrations. Manufacturer-recommended dispersant concentrations proved to be highly toxic and resulted in mortality for all nubbins. The dispersed oil and the dispersants were significantly more toxic than crude oil WSFs. As corals are particularly susceptible to oil detergents and dispersed oil, the results of these assays rules out the use of any oil dispersant in coral reefs and in their vicinity. The ecotoxicological impacts of the various dispersants on the corals could be rated on a scale from the least to the most harmful agent, as follows: Slickgone > Petrotech > Inipol = Biorieco > Emulgal > Dispolen. PMID:17822134

  14. The effects of habitat on coral bleaching responses in Kenya.

    PubMed

    Grimsditch, Gabriel; Mwaura, Jelvas M; Kilonzo, Joseph; Amiyo, Nassir

    2010-06-01

    This study examines the bleaching responses of scleractinian corals at four sites in Kenya (Kanamai, Vipingo, Mombasa and Nyali) representing two distinct lagoon habitats (relatively shallow and relatively deep). Bleaching incidence was monitored for the whole coral community, while zooxanthellae densities and chlorophyll levels were monitored for target species (Pocillopora damicornis, Porites lutea, and Porites cylindrica) during a non-bleaching year (2006) and a year of mild-bleaching (2007). Differences in bleaching responses between habitats were observed, with shallower sites Kanamai and Vipingo exhibiting lower bleaching incidence than deeper sites Nyali and Mombasa. These shallower lagoons display more fluctuating thermal and light environments than the deeper sites, suggesting that corals in the shallower lagoons have acclimatized and/or adapted to the fluctuating environmental conditions they endure on a daily basis and have become more resistant to bleaching stress. In deeper sites that did exhibit higher bleaching (Mombasa and Nyali), it was found that coral recovery occurred more quickly in the protected area than in the non-protected area.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wismer, Sharon; Bshary, Redouan

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  3. Scleractinian coral species survive and recover from decalcification.

    PubMed

    Fine, Maoz; Tchernov, Dan

    2007-03-30

    Anthropogenic-driven accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and projected ocean acidification have raised concerns regarding the eventual impact on coral reefs. This study demonstrates that skeleton-producing corals grown in acidified experimental conditions are able to sustain basic life functions, including reproductive ability, in a sea anemone-like form and will resume skeleton building when reintroduced to normal modern marine conditions. These results support the existence of physiological refugia, allowing corals to alternate between nonfossilizing soft-body ecophenotypes and fossilizing skeletal forms in response to changes in ocean chemistry. This refugia, however, does not undermine the threats to reef ecosystems in a high carbon dioxide world. PMID:17395821

  4. Bacterial Communities of Two Ubiquitous Great Barrier Reef Corals Reveals Both Site- and Species-Specificity of Common Bacterial Associates

    PubMed Central

    Kvennefors, E. Charlotte E.; Sampayo, Eugenia; Ridgway, Tyrone; Barnes, Andrew C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2010-01-01

    Background Coral-associated bacteria are increasingly considered to be important in coral health, and altered bacterial community structures have been linked to both coral disease and bleaching. Despite this, assessments of bacterial communities on corals rarely apply sufficient replication to adequately describe the natural variability. Replicated data such as these are crucial in determining potential roles of bacteria on coral. Methodology/Principal Findings Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) of the V3 region of the 16S ribosomal DNA was used in a highly replicated approach to analyse bacterial communities on both healthy and diseased corals. Although site-specific variations in the bacterial communities of healthy corals were present, host species-specific bacterial associates within a distinct cluster of gamma-proteobacteria could be identified, which are potentially linked to coral health. Corals affected by “White Syndrome” (WS) underwent pronounced changes in their bacterial communities in comparison to healthy colonies. However, the community structure and bacterial ribotypes identified in diseased corals did not support the previously suggested theory of a bacterial pathogen as the causative agent of the syndrome. Conclusions/Significance This is the first study to employ large numbers of replicated samples to assess the bacterial communities of healthy and diseased corals, and the first culture-independent assessment of bacterial communities on WS affected Acroporid corals on the GBR. Results indicate that a minimum of 6 replicate samples are required in order to draw inferences on species, spatial or health-related changes in community composition, as a set of clearly distinct bacterial community profiles exist in healthy corals. Coral bacterial communities may be both site and species specific. Furthermore, a cluster of gamma-proteobacterial ribotypes may represent a group of specific common coral and marine invertebrate associates

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  6. Species delimitation in the reef coral genera Echinophyllia and Oxypora (Scleractinia, Lobophylliidae) with a description of two new species.

    PubMed

    Arrigoni, Roberto; Berumen, Michael L; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Terraneo, Tullia I; Baird, Andrew H; Payri, Claude; Benzoni, Francesca

    2016-12-01

    Scleractinian corals are affected by environment-induced phenotypic plasticity and intraspecific morphological variation caused by genotype. In an effort to identify new strategies for resolving this taxonomic issue, we applied a molecular approach for species evaluation to two closely related genera, Echinophyllia and Oxypora, for which few molecular data are available. A robust multi-locus phylogeny using DNA sequence data across four loci of both mitochondrial (COI, ATP6-NAD4) and nuclear (histone H3, ITS region) origin from 109 coral colonies was coupled with three independent putative species delimitation methods based on barcoding threshold (ABGD) and coalescence theory (PTP, GMYC). Observed overall congruence across multiple genetic analyses distinguished two traditional species (E. echinoporoides and O. convoluta), a species complex composed of E. aspera, E. orpheensis, E. tarae, and O. glabra, whereas O. lacera and E. echinata were indistinguishable with the sequenced loci. The combination of molecular species delimitation approaches and skeletal character observations allowed the description of two new reef coral species, E. bulbosa sp. n. from the Red Sea and E. gallii sp. n. from the Maldives and Mayotte. This work demonstrated the efficiency of multi-locus phylogenetic analyses and recently developed molecular species delimitation approaches as valuable tools to disentangle taxonomic issues caused by morphological ambiguities and to re-assess the diversity of scleractinian corals. PMID:27593164

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  8. Optimal choice of species and size class for transplanting coral community.

    PubMed

    Muko, Soyoka; Iwasa, Yoh

    2011-03-21

    Transplantation of sessile organisms living in a planned destruction site to a safe site is an important means of restoration to mitigate biodiversity loss following anthropogenic developments. In particular, corals, which play fundamental roles in the coral reef ecosystem and contribute to biodiversity, are good candidates for transplantation. In this study, we investigate the optimal choice of species and size class to be used for coral transplantation. We first studied a case in which the objective function to evaluate the success of transplantation is the maximum total coverage. The optimal strategy is to choose the species and size class with higher net coverage gain per unit handling effort. It is often recommended to transplant only one or a few species and neglect others, even if the original community consists of many species. This may achieve high coverage in the restored coral community but cause loss of species diversity. To overcome this problem, we next study a case in which the objective of the transplantation operation is to maximize the "prosperity index", defined as the product of total coverage and species diversity. In this case, the optimal strategy depends on the species property, population size, and the limitation of total cost allowed for transplantation, but it tends to recommend more species to be transplanted than what is recommended by the coverage maximization criterion. We conclude that maximization of the prosperity index is a better criterion for transplantation than simple coverage maximization.

  9. Low symbiont diversity as a potential adaptive strategy in a marginal non-reefal environment: a case study of corals in Hong Kong

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ng, Tsz Yan; Ang, Put

    2016-09-01

    Symbiosis with genetically diverse Symbiodinium has been shown to affect host coral physiological responses to environmental stresses. Hong Kong, located in a subtropical region, is a marginal environment for coral growth largely due to its wide annual temperature fluctuation with low mean winter sea water temperature (~16 °C) and variable salinity conditions. The symbiont diversity in Hong Kong corals is therefore worth investigating to enrich our understanding on symbioses in marginal and fluctuating environments. Examination of 56 scleractinian coral species and five soft coral species using denaturing gel gradient electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer region 2 found only five distinct subclades of Symbiodinium with C1 the dominant type occurring in all but one scleractinian coral and all soft coral species investigated. C15 and C21 Symbiodinium were found in Porites spp. and Montipora peltiformis, respectively, both of which are vertical transmitters. D8-12 was found in Oulastrea crispata, a stress-tolerant species, and D1 in a single sample of Goniastrea aspera. No spatial differences in Symbiodinium composition were found among different regions of Hong Kong. Seasonal monitoring of tagged Platygyra acuta and Porites spp. colonies also revealed no changes in their symbiont types despite wide ranges of in situ temperature fluctuation. Hong Kong scleractinian corals hosted a remarkably low symbiont diversity compared with corals in the surrounding regions. The predominance of a single subclade, C1 Symbiodinium, suggests that this subclade is best acclimatized to local fluctuating conditions and/or low winter temperature. Forming symbiosis with the best acclimatized symbiont, instead of with a diverse group of symbionts with different physiological performances, either sequentially or simultaneously, may be a strategy used by Hong Kong corals to cope with stressful conditions.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-08

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-04-01

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

  16. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1988-01-01

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

  19. Variability in the effects of macroalgae on the survival and growth of corals: the consumer connection.

    PubMed

    Bulleri, Fabio; Couraudon-Réale, Marine; Lison de Loma, Thierry; Claudet, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    Shifts in dominance from corals to macroalgae are occurring in many coral reefs worldwide. Macroalgal canopies, while competing for space with coral colonies, may also form a barrier to herbivorous and corallivorous fish, offering protection to corals. Thus, corals could either suffer from enhanced competition with canopy-forming and understorey macroalgae or benefit from predator exclusion. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the effects of the brown, canopy-forming macroalga, Turbinaria ornata, on the survival and growth of corals can vary according to its cover, to the presence or absence of herbivorous and corallivorous fish and to the morphological types of corals. Over a period of 66 days, two coral species differing in growth form, Acropora pulchra and Porites rus, were exposed to three different covers of T. ornata (absent versus medium versus high), in the presence or absence of fish. Irrespective of the cover of T. ornata, fish exclusion reduced mortality rates of A. pulchra. Following fish exclusion, a high cover of T. ornata depressed the growth of this branched coral, whilst it had no effect when fish species were present. P. rus suffered no damage from corallivorous fish, but its growth was decreased by high covers of T. ornata, irrespective of the presence or absence of fish. These results show that negative effects of T. ornata on some coral species are subordinate to those of fish predation and are, therefore, likely to manifest only on reefs severely depleted of predators. In contrast, space dominance by T. ornata may decrease the growth of other coral species regardless of predation intensity. In general, this study shows that susceptibility to predation may determine the severity of the effects of canopy-forming macroalgae on coral growth.

  20. Species richness on coral reefs and the pursuit of convergent global estimates.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Rebecca; O'Leary, Rebecca A; Low-Choy, Samantha; Mengersen, Kerrie; Knowlton, Nancy; Brainard, Russell E; Caley, M Julian

    2015-02-16

    Global species richness, whether estimated by taxon, habitat, or ecosystem, is a key biodiversity metric. Yet, despite the global importance of biodiversity and increasing threats to it (e.g., we are no better able to estimate global species richness now than we were six decades ago. Estimates of global species richness remain highly uncertain and are often logically inconsistent. They are also difficult to validate because estimation of global species richness requires extrapolation beyond the number of species known. Given that somewhere between 3% and >96% of species on Earth may remain undiscovered, depending on the methods used and the taxa considered, such extrapolations, especially from small percentages of known species, are likely to be highly uncertain. An alternative approach is to estimate all species, the known and unknown, directly. Using expert taxonomic knowledge of the species already described and named, those already discovered but not yet described and named, and those still awaiting discovery, we estimate there to be 830,000 (95% credible limits: 550,000-1,330,000) multi-cellular species on coral reefs worldwide, excluding fungi. Uncertainty surrounding this estimate and its components were often strongly skewed toward larger values, indicating that many more species on coral reefs is more plausible than many fewer. The uncertainties revealed here should guide future research toward achieving convergence in global species richness estimates for coral reefs and other ecosystems via adaptive learning protocols whereby such estimates can be tested and improved, and their uncertainties reduced, as new knowledge is acquired.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-01

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

  8. Composition and ecology of deep-water coral associations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kühlmann, D. H. H.

    1983-06-01

    Between 1966 and 1978 SCUBA investigations were carried out in French Polynesia, the Red Sea, and the Caribbean, at depths down to 70 m. Although there are fewer coral species in the Caribbean, the abundance of Scleractinia in deep-water associations below 20 m almost equals that in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The assemblages of corals living there are described and defined as deep-water coral associations. They are characterized by large, flattened growth forms. Only 6 to 7 % of the species occur exclusively below 20 m. More than 90 % of the corals recorded in deep waters also live in shallow regions. Depth-related illumination is not responsible for depth differentiations of coral associations, but very likely, a complex of mechanical factors, such as hydrodynamic conditions, substrate conditions, sedimentation etc. However, light intensity determines the general distribution of hermatypic Scleractinia in their bathymetric range as well as the platelike shape of coral colonies characteristic for deep water associations. Depending on mechanical factors, Leptoseris, Montipora, Porites and Pachyseris dominate as characteristic genera in the Central Pacific Ocean, Podabacia, Leptoseris, Pachyseris and Coscinarea in the Red Sea, Agaricia and Leptoseris in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean.

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

    PubMed

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Identity and diversity of coral endosymbionts (zooxanthellae) from three Palauan reefs with contrasting bleaching, temperature and shading histories.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, K E; Mieog, J C; Colin, P L; Idip, D; van Oppen, M J H

    2004-08-01

    The potential of corals to associate with more temperature-tolerant strains of algae (zooxanthellae, Symbiodinium) can have important implications for the future of coral reefs in an era of global climate change. In this study, the genetic identity and diversity of zooxanthellae was investigated at three reefs with contrasting histories of bleaching mortality, water temperature and shading, in the Republic of Palau (Micronesia). Single-stranded conformation polymorphism and sequence analysis of the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS)1 region was used for genotyping. A chronically warm but partly shaded coral reef in a marine lake that is hydrographically well connected to the surrounding waters harboured only two single-stranded conformation polymorphism profiles (i.e. zooxanthella communities). It consisted only of Symbiodinium D in all 13 nonporitid species and two Porites species investigated, with the remaining five Porites harbouring C*. Despite the high temperature in this lake (> 0.5 degrees above ambient), this reef did not suffer coral mortality during the (1998) bleaching event, however, no bleaching-sensitive coral families and genera occur in the coral community. This setting contrasts strongly with two other reefs with generally lower temperatures, in which 10 and 12 zooxanthella communities with moderate to low proportions of clade D zooxanthellae were found. The data indicate that whole coral assemblages, when growing in elevated seawater temperatures and at reduced irradiance, can be composed of colonies associated with the more thermo-tolerant clade D zooxanthellae. Future increases in seawater temperature might, therefore, result in an increasing prevalence of Symbiodinium phylotype D in scleractinian corals, possibly associated with a loss of diversity in both zooxanthellae and corals. PMID:15245416

  13. Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golbuu, Yimnang; Fabricius, Katharina; Victor, Steven; Richmond, Robert H.

    2008-01-01

    This study analyzed how coral communities change along a gradient of increasing exposure to a mud-discharging river in the Enipein Catchment, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Using video transects, we quantified benthic communities at five sites along a gradient moving away from the river mouth towards the barrier reef. The most river-impacted site was characterized by a high accumulation of mud, low coral cover and low coral diversity. Although coral cover leveled off at ˜400 m from the river mouth to values found at the outer-most sites, coral diversity continued to increase with increasing distance, suggesting that the most distant site was still impacted by the river discharges. Fungiidae, Pavona, Acropora, Pachyseris and Porites rus all significantly increased in cover with distance from the river, while Turbinaria decreased. The combined presence and abundance of these six species groups, together with coral species richness, may help to indicate the effects of terrestrial runoff in similar runoff-exposed settings around Micronesia, whereas coral cover is not a sensitive indicator for river impact. Coral reefs are important resources for the people of Pohnpei. To prevent further degradation of this important resource, an integrated watershed approach is needed to control terrestrial activities.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Long-term impacts of coral bleaching events on the world's warmest reefs.

    PubMed

    Burt, John; Al-Harthi, Suaad; Al-Cibahy, Ashraf

    2011-10-01

    The southern Arabian Gulf houses some of the most thermally tolerant corals on earth, but severe bleaching in the late 1990s caused widespread mortality. More than a decade later, corals still dominated benthos (mean: 40 ± 3% cover on 10 sites spanning > 350 km; range: 11.0-65.6%), but coral communities varied spatially. Sites to the west generally had low species richness and coral cover (mean: 3.2 species per transect, 31% cover), with Porites dominated communities (88% of coral) that are distinct from more diverse and higher cover eastern sites (mean: 10.3 species per transect, 62% cover). These patterns reflect both the more extreme bleaching to the west in the late 1990s as well as the higher faviid dominated recruitment to the east in subsequent years. There has been limited recovery of the formerly dominant Acropora, which now represents <1% of the benthos, likely as a result of recruitment failure. Results indicate that severe bleaching can have substantial long-term impacts on coral communities, even in areas with corals tolerant to environmental extremes.

  2. Coral disease dynamics at a subtropical location, Solitary Islands Marine Park, eastern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dalton, Steven J.; Smith, Stephen D. A.

    2006-03-01

    Recent observations suggest that a spreading disease is increasingly contributing to hard coral mortality in the Solitary Islands Marine Park, NSW, Australia. This study determined coral disease prevalence and rate-of-spread through individual affected colonies and investigated the effect this epizootic had on coral populations at sites adjacent to South West Solitary Island. Quantitative data were collected between 2002 and 2004 using photographic and video methods, and visual census along radial arc belt transects. Disease similar to the reported white syndrome and white plague was apparent, spreading through hard coral species from the genera Turbinaria, Acropora, Goniastrea, Pocillopora, Stylophora and Porites. Coral disease prevalence varied between survey dates with mean prevalence increasing from 8.55% during March 2003 to 13.58% in June and declining to 7.75% in September and 6.21% during March 2004. There was a significant difference in mean prevalence between the affected species (p<0.001) and an overall difference between survey dates (p=0.001). Additionally, the rate-of-spread of coral disease through coral colonies determined using repeated, seasonal, still photographs followed similar patterns, with disease progression differing between affected species (p=0.004), and between survey dates (p<0.001). Analysis of the video-transects indicated significant difference in disease prevalence over larger spatial scales (100s of m). However, disease frequency did not vary significantly between 2002 and 2003.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Coral population dynamics across consecutive mass mortality events.

    PubMed

    Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Sam

    2015-11-01

    Annual coral mortality events due to increased atmospheric heat may occur regularly from the middle of the century and are considered apocalyptic for coral reefs. In the Arabian/Persian Gulf, this situation has already occurred and population dynamics of four widespread corals (Acropora downingi, Porites harrisoni, Dipsastrea pallida, Cyphastrea micropthalma) were examined across the first-ever occurrence of four back-to-back mass mortality events (2009-2012). Mortality was driven by diseases in 2009, bleaching and subsequent diseases in 2010/2011/2012. 2009 reduced P. harrisoni cover and size, the other events increasingly reduced overall cover (2009: -10%; 2010: -20%; 2011: -20%; 2012: -15%) and affected all examined species. Regeneration was only observed after the first disturbance. P. harrisoni and A. downingi severely declined from 2010 due to bleaching and subsequent white syndromes, while D. pallida and P. daedalea declined from 2011 due to bleaching and black-band disease. C. microphthalma cover was not affected. In all species, most large corals were lost while fission due to partial tissue mortality bolstered small size classes. This general shrinkage led to a decrease of coral cover and a dramatic reduction of fecundity. Transition matrices for disturbed and undisturbed conditions were evaluated as Life Table Response Experiment and showed that C. microphthalma changed the least in size-class dynamics and fecundity, suggesting they were 'winners'. In an ordered 'degradation cascade', impacts decreased from the most common to the least common species, leading to step-wise removal of previously dominant species. A potentially permanent shift from high- to low-coral cover with different coral community and size structure can be expected due to the demographic dynamics resultant from the disturbances. Similarities to degradation of other Caribbean and Pacific reefs are discussed. As comparable environmental conditions and mortality patterns must be

  8. Localized bleaching in Hawaii causes tissue loss and a reduction in the number of gametes in Porites compressa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-06-01

    Localized bleaching (a discrete white area on the coral) was observed in one of the main framework-building corals in Hawaii, Porites compressa. This study aimed to determine the degree of virulence of the lesion. We investigated the whole-colony effects by following disease progression through time and examining the effect of localized bleaching on coral fecundity. After two months, 35 of 42 (83.3%) individually tagged colonies affected by localized bleaching showed tissue loss and partial colony mortality. Histological slides of healthy P. compressa and samples from colonies showing signs of localized bleaching were compared showing that affected colonies had a significant reduction (almost 50%) in gamete development, egg numbers, and egg size in the affected tissue. The observed localized bleaching results in both partial colony mortality and a reduced number of gametes and was termed Porites Bleaching with Tissue Loss (PBTL).

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Influence of Species Specificity and Other Factors on Bacteria Associated with the Coral Stylophora pistillata in Taiwan ▿

    PubMed Central

    Hong, Mei-Jhu; Yu, Yi-Ting; Chen, Chaolun A.; Chiang, Pei-Wen; Tang, Sen-Lin

    2009-01-01

    Species of bacteria associated with Stylophora pistillata were determined by analyses of 16S ribosomal genes. Coral samples were taken from two distinct sites at Kenting, in the far south of Taiwan; three coral colonies at each site were tagged and sampled in the winter and summer of 2007. Six hundred 16S rRNA gene clones were selected and sequenced for diversity analysis and community comparison. LIBSHUFF and nonparametric multiple dimensional scaling analyses showed variations in the composition of the coral-associated bacteria in the different samples, suggesting that seasonal and geographic factors and variations in individual coral colonies were all vital drivers of the structure of the S. pistillata-associated bacterial community. To examine the association between species specificity and environmental impacts on the structure of the coral-associated bacterial community, we conducted an integrated, comparative analysis of 44 coral-associated bacterial data sets, including the present study's data. The clustering analysis suggests that the influence of spatial and temporal factors on the coral-associated bacteria population structure is considerable; nonetheless, the effect of species specificity is still detectable in some coral species, especially those from the Caribbean Sea. PMID:19854921

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lirman, D.

    2001-05-01

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

  12. Modeling vertical coral connectivity and mesophotic refugia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Go; Nomura, Keiichi

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Go; Nomura, Keiichi

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-06-01

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

  17. Ten years after the crime: Lasting effects of damage from a cruise ship anchor on a coral reef in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, C.S.; Garrison, V.H.

    2001-01-01

    In October 1988, a cruise ship dropped its anchor on a coral reef in Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, creating a distinct scar roughly 128 m long and 3 m wide from a depth of 22 m to a depth of 6 m. The anchor pulverized coral colonies and smashed part of the reef framework. In April 1991, nine permanent quadrats (1 m2) were established inside the scar over a depth range of 9 m to 12.5 m. At that time, average coral cover inside the scar was less than 1%. These quadrats were surveyed again in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998. Recruits of 19 coral species have been observed, with Agaricia agaricites and Porites spp. the most abundant. Quadrats surveyed outside the scar in June 1994 over the same depth range had a higher percent coral cover (mean = 7.4%, SD = 4.5) and greater average size (maximum length) of coral colonies than in quadrats inside the damaged area. Although coral recruits settle into the scar in high densities, live coral cover has not increased significantly in the last 10 yrs, reflecting poor survival and growth of newly settled corals. The relatively planar aspect of the scar may increase the vulnerability of the recruits to abrasion and mortality from shifting sediments. Ten years after the anchor damage occurred, live coral cover in the still-visible scar (mean = 2.6%, SD = 2.7) remains well below the cover found in the adjacent, undamaged reef.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Cacciapaglia, Chris; van Woesik, Robert

    2015-06-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cottone, Mary C.

    1995-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-15

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

  11. Mechanisms of reproductive isolation among sympatric broadcast-spawning corals of the Montastraea annularis species complex.

    PubMed

    Levitan, Don R; Fukami, Hironobu; Jara, Javier; Kline, David; McGovern, Tamara M; McGhee, Katie E; Swanson, Cheryl A; Knowlton, Nancy

    2004-02-01

    Many coral species spawn simultaneously and have compatible gametes, leading to controversy over the nature of species boundaries and the frequency with which hybridization occurs. Three western Atlantic corals, Montastraea annularis, M. faveolata, and M. franksi, typify this controversy; they all spawn sympatrically on the same evenings after the fall full moons. Here we show, in both Panama and the Bahamas for multiple years, how a variety of mechanisms may act in concert to reproductively isolate all three species. Field studies indicate that M. franksi spawns two hours earlier than the other two species, and the eggs released during this earlier period disperse an average of 500 m by the time the other species spawn. Field measures of fertilization indicate that peak fertilization occurs when spawning synchrony is high and that corals that spawn at the tails of the spawning distributions have greatly reduced fertilization success. Laboratory studies indicate that there is a gametic incompatibility between M. faveolata and the other two species. There are regional differences in the gametic compatibility of M. franksi and M. annularis. In Panama, the two species are completely compatible, whereas in the Bahamas, M. franksi sperm can fertilize M. annularis eggs but the reciprocal cross often fails. Gamete age influences patterns of fertilization, such that very young eggs seem resistant to fertilization and old sperm lose viability after two hours. In sum, the combination of temporal differences in spawning, sperm aging, gamete dispersal and dilution, and gametic incompatibility act in various combinations among the three species, making it unlikely that hybrid fertilization would occur.

  12. Visibly healthy corals exhibit variable pigment concentrations and symbiont phenotypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Apprill, A. M.; Bidigare, R. R.; Gates, R. D.

    2007-06-01

    Understanding the natural variability of photosynthetic pigment ranges and distributions in healthy corals is central to evaluating how useful these measurements are for assessing the health and bleaching status of endosymbiotic reef-building corals. This study examined the photosynthetic pigment variability in visibly healthy Porites lobata and Porites lutea corals from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and explored whether pigment variability was related to the genetic identity or phenotypic characteristics of the symbionts. Concentrations of the photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll a, peridinin, chlorophyll c 2 , diadinoxanthin, diatoxanthin, β,β-carotene and dinoxanthin were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pigment concentrations were found to range 1.5-10 fold in colonies of each species at similar depths (0-2, 2-4, 10-15 and 19-21 m). Despite the high pigment variability, pigment ratios for each species were relatively conserved over the 0-21 m depth gradient. The genetic identity of the symbiont communities was examined for each colony using 18S nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) restriction fragment length polymorphisms. All colonies contained symbionts belonging to clade C. The density and phenotypic characteristics of the symbionts were explored using flow cytometry, and fluorescence and side scatter (cell size) properties revealed phenotypically distinct symbiont subpopulations in every colony. The symbiont subpopulations displayed pigment trends that may be driven by acclimatization to irradiance microenvironments within the host. These results highlight the biological complexity of healthy coral-symbiont associations and the need for future research on pigments and symbiont subpopulation dynamics.

  13. 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.

  14. [Low water temperature tolerance and responding mode of scleractinian corals in Sanya Bay].

    PubMed

    Li, Shu; Yu, Ke-fu; Shi, Qi; Chen, Tian-ran; Zhao, Mei-xia

    2009-09-01

    In an experimental temperature-regulated mesocosm, the low water temperature tolerance of five dominant scleractinian coral species Pavona decussate, Acropora pulchra, Acropora florida, Acropora valida, and Porites lutea in Sanya Bay was investigated, and their responding modes to the cold water stress were analyzed. The tolerance of test corals to low water temperature was closely related to their morphologies, with the branching corals being the most vulnerable to bleaching and death by separating the symbiotic polyps from their skeletons. The lethal low water temperature for branching Acropora corals was 14 degrees C lasting for 3 days, and that for foliose P. decussate was 12 degrees C lasting for 10 days. Massive P. lutea corals responded to low water temperature by forming mucus membrane, which helped to prevent the further losing of symbiotic algae. The corals showing strong tolerance to high water temperature also had strong tolerance to low water temperature, and had similar responding modes to both high and low water temperature, i.e., the corals didn't extend their tentacle first, followed by the continuous release of mucus and the discharge of symbiotic zooxanthellae, and finally, bleached and died.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2008-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Crabbe, M J C

    2010-04-01

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

  1. Spatial variation in abundance, size and orientation of juvenile corals related to the biomass of parrotfishes on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Trapon, Melanie L; Pratchett, Morgan S; Hoey, Andrew S

    2013-01-01

    For species with complex life histories such as scleractinian corals, processes occurring early in life can greatly influence the number of individuals entering the adult population. A plethora of studies have examined settlement patterns of coral larvae, mostly on artificial substrata, and the composition of adult corals across multiple spatial and temporal scales. However, relatively few studies have examined the spatial distribution of small (≤50 mm diameter) sexually immature corals on natural reef substrata. We, therefore, quantified the variation in the abundance, composition and size of juvenile corals (≤50 mm diameter) among 27 sites, nine reefs, and three latitudes spanning over 1000 km on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Overall, 2801 juveniles were recorded with a mean density of 6.9 (±0.3 SE) ind.m(-2), with Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites accounting for 84.1% of all juvenile corals surveyed. Size-class structure, orientation on the substrate and taxonomic composition of juvenile corals varied significantly among latitudinal sectors. The abundance of juvenile corals varied both within (6-13 ind.m(-2)) and among reefs (2.8-11.1 ind.m(-2)) but was fairly similar among latitudes (6.1-8.2 ind.m(-2)), despite marked latitudinal variation in larval supply and settlement rates previously found at this scale. Furthermore, the density of juvenile corals was negatively correlated with the biomass of scraping and excavating parrotfishes across all sites, revealing a potentially important role of parrotfishes in determining distribution patterns of juvenile corals on the Great Barrier Reef. While numerous studies have advocated the importance of parrotfishes for clearing space on the substrate to facilitate coral settlement, our results suggest that at high biomass they may have a detrimental effect on juvenile coral assemblages. There is, however, a clear need to directly quantify rates of mortality and growth of juvenile corals to understand the relative

  2. 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

  3. Local effects induced by venoms from five species of genus Micrurus sp. (coral snakes).

    PubMed

    Barros, A C; Fernandes, D P; Ferreira, L C; Dos Santos, M C

    1994-04-01

    Venoms from five species of Micrurus (coral snakes) from Brazil (Amazonas State) were tested for the following effects: edematogenic, myotoxic, coagulant, hemorrhagic and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) detection. None of the venoms tested presented coagulant activity. The presence of PLA2 was detected by ELISA in the venoms of M. spixii, M. averyi and M. lemniscatus. The myotoxicity was estimated by the increase in the serum creatine kinase level and by histological analysis. All venoms, except that from M. surinamensis, induced intense edematogenic and myotoxic effects. The venom of M. averyi showed hemorrhagic activity which was confirmed by histopathological analysis. This is the first evidence of such an effect by coral snake venom.

  4. Fishing down the largest coral reef fish species.

    PubMed

    Fenner, Douglas

    2014-07-15

    Studies on remote, uninhabited, near-pristine reefs have revealed surprisingly large populations of large reef fish. Locations such as the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Marianas Islands, Line Islands, U.S. remote Pacific Islands, Cocos-Keeling Atoll and Chagos archipelago have much higher reef fish biomass than islands and reefs near people. Much of the high biomass of most remote reef fish communities lies in the largest species, such as sharks, bumphead parrots, giant trevally, and humphead wrasse. Some, such as sharks and giant trevally, are apex predators, but others such as bumphead parrots and humphead wrasse, are not. At many locations, decreases in large reef fish species have been attributed to fishing. Fishing is well known to remove the largest fish first, and a quantitative measure of vulnerability to fishing indicates that large reef fish species are much more vulnerable to fishing than small fish. The removal of large reef fish by fishing parallels the extinction of terrestrial megafauna by early humans. However large reef fish have great value for various ecological roles and for reef tourism.

  5. Fishing down the largest coral reef fish species.

    PubMed

    Fenner, Douglas

    2014-07-15

    Studies on remote, uninhabited, near-pristine reefs have revealed surprisingly large populations of large reef fish. Locations such as the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Marianas Islands, Line Islands, U.S. remote Pacific Islands, Cocos-Keeling Atoll and Chagos archipelago have much higher reef fish biomass than islands and reefs near people. Much of the high biomass of most remote reef fish communities lies in the largest species, such as sharks, bumphead parrots, giant trevally, and humphead wrasse. Some, such as sharks and giant trevally, are apex predators, but others such as bumphead parrots and humphead wrasse, are not. At many locations, decreases in large reef fish species have been attributed to fishing. Fishing is well known to remove the largest fish first, and a quantitative measure of vulnerability to fishing indicates that large reef fish species are much more vulnerable to fishing than small fish. The removal of large reef fish by fishing parallels the extinction of terrestrial megafauna by early humans. However large reef fish have great value for various ecological roles and for reef tourism. PMID:24889317

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Pittman, Simon J.; Brown, Kerry A.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, James Darwin

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Thomas, James Darwin

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1996-06-01

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

  20. A pre-zygotic barrier to hybridization in two con-generic species of scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Baird, Andrew H; Cumbo, Vivian R; Figueiredo, Joana; Harii, Saki

    2013-01-01

    Hybridization is often cited as a potential source of evolutionary novelty in the order Scleractinia. While hybrid embryos can be produced in vitro, it has been difficult to identify adult hybrids in the wild. Here, we tested the potential for hybridization between two closely related species in the family Fungiidae. We mixed approximately 5000 eggs of Ctenactis echinata with sperm from C. crassa. No hybrid embryos were produced. This observation adds to a growing body of evidence for pre-zygotic barriers to hybridization in corals and challenges the claim that hybridization is a major source of evolutionary novelty in the order.

  1. Minimal change disease in association with fire coral (Millepora species) exposure.

    PubMed

    Prasad, G V Ramesh; Vincent, Lloyd; Hamilton, Robert; Lim, Ki

    2006-01-01

    Numerous agents have been associated with minimal change disease. We describe a previously unreported association in a 45-year-old white woman of scuba diving exposure to fire coral (Millepora species) that was followed by the development of nephrotic syndrome, acute renal failure, pulmonary edema, and intubation. The renal biopsy specimen was consistent with minimal change disease. Institution of corticosteroid therapy resulted in symptomatic improvement and resolution of proteinuria. Physicians, particularly those in scuba-diving areas, should consider minimal change disease in exposed patients with proteinuria because a prompt diagnostic and therapeutic approach may potentially limit complications.

  2. Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Piniak, Gregory A

    2007-10-01

    This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (F(v)/F(m)) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in F(v)/F(m) were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased F(v)/F(m) in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction--P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area. PMID:17568664

  3. Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Piniak, G.A.

    2007-01-01

    This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in Fv/Fm were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased Fv/Fm in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction-P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area. ?? 2007.

  4. Effects of two sediment types on the fluorescence yield of two Hawaiian scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Piniak, Gregory A

    2007-10-01

    This study used non-invasive pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry to measure the maximum fluorescence yield (F(v)/F(m)) of two Hawaiian scleractinian coral species exposed to short-term sedimentation stress. Beach sand or harbor mud was applied to coral fragments in a flow-through aquarium system for 0-45 h, and changes in F(v)/F(m) were measured as a function of sediment type and length of exposure. Corals were monitored for up to 90 h to document recovery after sediment removal. Sediment deposition significantly decreased F(v)/F(m) in both species and was a function of sediment type and time. Corals that received sediment for 30 h or more had the greatest reduction in yield and exhibited little recovery over the course of the experiment. Harbor mud caused a greater reduction in Porites lobata yield than beach sand, whereas both sediment types had equally deleterious effects on Montipora capitata. Colony morphology and sediment type were important factors in determining yield reduction--P. lobata minimized damage from coarse sand grains by passive sediment rejection or accumulation in depressions in the skeleton, and fluorescence yield decreased most in corals exposed to sticky harbor mud or in colonies with flattened morphologies. Species-specific differences could not be tested due to differences in colony morphology and surface area.

  5. Diversity in skeletal architecture influences biological heterogeneity and Symbiodinium habitat in corals.

    PubMed

    Yost, Denise M; Wang, Li-Hsueh; Fan, Tung-Yung; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Lee, Raymond W; Sogin, Emilia; Gates, Ruth D

    2013-10-01

    Scleractinian corals vary in response to rapid shifts in the marine environment and changes in reef community structure post-disturbance reveal a clear relationship between coral performance and morphology. With exceptions, massive corals are thought to be more tolerant and branching corals more vulnerable to changing environmental conditions, notably thermal stress. The typical responses of massive and branching coral taxa, respectively, are well documented; however, the biological and functional characteristics that underpin this variation are not well understood. We address this gap by comparing multiple biological attributes that are correlated with skeletal architecture in two perforate (having porous skeletal matrices with intercalating tissues) and two imperforate coral species (Montipora aequituberculata, Porites lobata, Pocillopora damicornis, and Seriatopora hystrix) representing three morphotypes. Our results reveal inherent biological heterogeneity among corals and the potential for perforate skeletons to create complex, three-dimensional internal habitats that impact the dynamics of the symbiosis. Patterns of tissue thickness are correlated with the concentration of symbionts within narrow regions of tissue in imperforate corals versus broad distribution throughout the larger tissue area in perforate corals. Attributes of the perforate and environmentally tolerant P. lobata were notable, with tissues ∼5 times thicker than in the sensitive, imperforate species P. damicornis and S. hystrix. Additionally, P. lobata had the lowest baseline levels of superoxide and Symbiodinium that provisioned high levels of energy. Given our observations, we hypothesize that the complexity of the visually obscured internal environment has an impact on host-symbiont dynamics and ultimately on survival, warranting further scientific investigation. PMID:23992772

  6. High thermal tolerance of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species maintained in aquaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naumann, M. S.; Orejas, C.; Ferrier-Pagès, C.

    2013-09-01

    In the Mediterranean deep-sea, scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) are observed to survive at the uppermost end of their presumed thermal distribution range (4-13 °C). Here, we show that 2 common CWC species (i.e. Dendrophyllia cornigera and Desmophyllum dianthus) maintained in aquaria can indeed tolerate considerably elevated seawater temperatures (17.5 ± 0.1 °C), while growing at similar ( D. dianthus) or significantly higher ( D. cornigera) rates than conspecifics cultured in parallel for 87 days at ambient Mediterranean deep-sea temperature (12.5 ± 0.1 °C). Neither differences in coral appearance nor mortality were evident for both species at either temperature. D. dianthus grew significantly faster (0.23 ± 0.08 % day-1) than D. cornigera (0.05 ± 0.01 % day-1) under ambient thermal conditions. Growth of D. cornigera increased significantly (0.14 ± 0.07 % day-1) at elevated temperature, while Desmophyllum dianthus growth showed no significant difference under both conditions. These findings suggest that D. dianthus and D. cornigera may be capable of surviving in warmer environments than previously reported, and thus challenge temperature as the paramount limiting environmental factor for the occurrence of some CWC species.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  9. Tissue mortality by Caribbean ciliate infection and white band disease in three reef-building coral species

    PubMed Central

    Bastidas, Carolina; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    Caribbean ciliate infection (CCI) and white band disease (WBD) are diseases that affect a multitude of coral hosts and are associated with rapid rates of tissue losses, thus contributing to declining coral cover in Caribbean reefs. In this study we compared tissue mortality rates associated to CCI in three species of corals with different growth forms: Orbicella faveolata (massive-boulder), O. annularis (massive-columnar) and Acropora cervicornis (branching). We also compared mortality rates in colonies of A. cervicornis bearing WBD and CCI. The study was conducted at two locations in Los Roques Archipelago National Park between April 2012 and March 2013. In A. cervicornis, the rate of tissue loss was similar between WBD (0.8 ± 1 mm/day, mean ± SD) and CCI (0.7 ± 0.9 mm/day). However, mortality rate by CCI in A. cervicornis was faster than in the massive species O. faveolata (0.5 ± 0.6 mm/day) and O. annularis (0.3 ± 0.3 mm/day). Tissue regeneration was at least fifteen times slower than the mortality rates for both diseases regardless of coral species. This is the first study providing coral tissue mortality and regeneration rates associated to CCI in colonies with massive morphologies, and it highlights the risks of further cover losses of the three most important reef-building species in the Caribbean. PMID:27547525

  10. Tissue mortality by Caribbean ciliate infection and white band disease in three reef-building coral species.

    PubMed

    Verde, Alejandra; Bastidas, Carolina; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    Caribbean ciliate infection (CCI) and white band disease (WBD) are diseases that affect a multitude of coral hosts and are associated with rapid rates of tissue losses, thus contributing to declining coral cover in Caribbean reefs. In this study we compared tissue mortality rates associated to CCI in three species of corals with different growth forms: Orbicella faveolata (massive-boulder), O. annularis (massive-columnar) and Acropora cervicornis (branching). We also compared mortality rates in colonies of A. cervicornis bearing WBD and CCI. The study was conducted at two locations in Los Roques Archipelago National Park between April 2012 and March 2013. In A. cervicornis, the rate of tissue loss was similar between WBD (0.8 ± 1 mm/day, mean ± SD) and CCI (0.7 ± 0.9 mm/day). However, mortality rate by CCI in A. cervicornis was faster than in the massive species O. faveolata (0.5 ± 0.6 mm/day) and O. annularis (0.3 ± 0.3 mm/day). Tissue regeneration was at least fifteen times slower than the mortality rates for both diseases regardless of coral species. This is the first study providing coral tissue mortality and regeneration rates associated to CCI in colonies with massive morphologies, and it highlights the risks of further cover losses of the three most important reef-building species in the Caribbean. PMID:27547525

  11. Tissue mortality by Caribbean ciliate infection and white band disease in three reef-building coral species.

    PubMed

    Verde, Alejandra; Bastidas, Carolina; Croquer, Aldo

    2016-01-01

    Caribbean ciliate infection (CCI) and white band disease (WBD) are diseases that affect a multitude of coral hosts and are associated with rapid rates of tissue losses, thus contributing to declining coral cover in Caribbean reefs. In this study we compared tissue mortality rates associated to CCI in three species of corals with different growth forms: Orbicella faveolata (massive-boulder), O. annularis (massive-columnar) and Acropora cervicornis (branching). We also compared mortality rates in colonies of A. cervicornis bearing WBD and CCI. The study was conducted at two locations in Los Roques Archipelago National Park between April 2012 and March 2013. In A. cervicornis, the rate of tissue loss was similar between WBD (0.8 ± 1 mm/day, mean ± SD) and CCI (0.7 ± 0.9 mm/day). However, mortality rate by CCI in A. cervicornis was faster than in the massive species O. faveolata (0.5 ± 0.6 mm/day) and O. annularis (0.3 ± 0.3 mm/day). Tissue regeneration was at least fifteen times slower than the mortality rates for both diseases regardless of coral species. This is the first study providing coral tissue mortality and regeneration rates associated to CCI in colonies with massive morphologies, and it highlights the risks of further cover losses of the three most important reef-building species in the Caribbean.

  12. Uptake of dissolved free amino acids by four cold-water coral species from the Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gori, Andrea; Grover, Renaud; Orejas, Covadonga; Sikorski, Séverine; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2014-01-01

    Dissolved organic matter, which contains many compounds such as lipids, sugars and amino acids, is an important source of carbon and nitrogen for several symbiotic and asymbiotic tropical coral species. However, there is still no information on its possible uptake by cold-water coral species. In this study, we demonstrated that dissolved organic matter, in the form of dissolved free amino acids (DFAA), is actively absorbed by four cold-water coral species from the Mediterranean Sea. Although the uptake rates observed with 3 μM DFAA concentration were one order of magnitude lower than those observed in tropical species, they corresponded to 12-50% of the daily excreted-nitrogen, and 16-89% of the daily respired-carbon of the cold-water corals. Consequently, DFAA, even at in situ concentrations lower than those tested in this study, can supply a significant amount of carbon and nitrogen to the corals, especially during periods when particulate food is scarce.

  13. 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.

  14. Linking sewage pollution and water quality to spatial patterns of Porites lobata growth anomalies in Puako, Hawaii.

    PubMed

    Yoshioka, Reyn M; Kim, Catherine J S; Tracy, Allison M; Most, Rebecca; Harvell, C Drew

    2016-03-15

    Sewage pollution threatens the health of coastal populations and ecosystems, including coral reefs. We investigated spatial patterns of sewage pollution in Puako, Hawaii using enterococci concentrations and δ(15)N Ulva fasciata macroalgal bioassays to assess relationships with the coral disease Porites lobata growth anomalies (PGAs). PGA severity and enterococci concentrations were high, spatially variable, and positively related. Bioassay algal δ(15)N showed low sewage pollution at the reef edge while high values of resident algae indicated sewage pollution nearshore. Neither δ(15)N metric predicted PGA measures, though bioassay δ(15)N was negatively related to coral cover. Furthermore, PGA prevalence was much higher than previously recorded in Hawaii and the greater Indo-Pacific, highlighting Puako as an area of concern. Although further work is needed to resolve the relationship between sewage pollution and coral cover and disease, these results implicate sewage pollution as a contributor to diminished reef health.

  15. Diversity and distribution of symbiodinium associated with seven common coral species in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Yang, Sung-Yin; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Obura, David; Sheppard, Charles R C; Visram, Shakil; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2012-01-01

    The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with scleractinian corals in five atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, spread over 10,000 km(2). Symbiodinium clade diversity in 262 samples of seven common coral species, Acropora muricata, Isopora palifera, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, P. eydouxi, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata were determined using PCR-SSCP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), PCR-DDGE of ITS2, and phylogenetic analyses. The results indicated that Symbiodinium in clade C were the dominant symbiont group in the seven coral species. Our analysis revealed types of Symbiodinium clade C specific to coral species. Types C1 and C3 (with C3z and C3i variants) were dominant in Acroporidae and C1 and C1c were the dominant types in Pocilloporidae. We also found 2 novel ITS2 types in S. hystrix and 1 novel ITS2 type of Symbiodinium in A. muricata. Some colonies of A. muricata and I. palifera were also associated with Symbiodinium A1. These results suggest that corals in the Chagos Archipelago host different assemblages of Symbiodinium types then their conspecifics from other locations in the Indian Ocean; and that future research will show whether these patterns in Symbiodinium genotypes may be due to local adaptation to specific conditions in the Chagos. PMID:22567113

  16. Diversity and Distribution of Symbiodinium Associated with Seven Common Coral Species in the Chagos Archipelago, Central Indian Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Obura, David; Sheppard, Charles R. C.; Visram, Shakil; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2012-01-01

    The Chagos Archipelago designated as a no-take marine protected area in 2010, lying about 500 km south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has a high conservation priority, particularly because of its fast recovery from the ocean-wide massive coral mortality following the 1998 coral bleaching event. The aims of this study were to examine Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with scleractinian corals in five atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, spread over 10,000 km 2. Symbiodinium clade diversity in 262 samples of seven common coral species, Acropora muricata, Isopora palifera, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, P. eydouxi, Seriatopora hystrix, and Stylophora pistillata were determined using PCR-SSCP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), PCR-DDGE of ITS2, and phylogenetic analyses. The results indicated that Symbiodinium in clade C were the dominant symbiont group in the seven coral species. Our analysis revealed types of Symbiodinium clade C specific to coral species. Types C1 and C3 (with C3z and C3i variants) were dominant in Acroporidae and C1 and C1c were the dominant types in Pocilloporidae. We also found 2 novel ITS2 types in S. hystrix and 1 novel ITS2 type of Symbiodinium in A. muricata. Some colonies of A. muricata and I. palifera were also associated with Symbiodinium A1. These results suggest that corals in the Chagos Archipelago host different assemblages of Symbiodinium types then their conspecifics from other locations in the Indian Ocean; and that future research will show whether these patterns in Symbiodinium genotypes may be due to local adaptation to specific conditions in the Chagos. PMID:22567113

  17. Assessing hidden species diversity in the coral Pocillopora damicornis from Eastern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt-Roach, S.; Lundgren, P.; Miller, K. J.; Gerlach, G.; Noreen, A. M. E.; Andreakis, N.

    2013-03-01

    The incredible range of morphological plasticity present in scleractinian corals has confused the taxonomy of the group, prompting the introduction of "ecomorphs" to explain the observed correlation between local environmental conditions and phenotypic variation. Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) represents one of the best known examples of eco-phenotypic variation in scleractinian corals with a variety of forms and reproductive strategies reported across its global distribution range. Here, we reconstruct genealogical relationships of P. damicornis colonies collected from thirteen locations along the East Australian coast to examine the relationship between genetic and phenotypic diversity in this species. Haplotype networks computed from two mitochondrial DNA regions (CR, ORF) indicate that the range of morphotypes observed within this taxon fall into at least five genetically distinct mitochondrial lineages. Nuclear (HSP70, ITS2) haplowebs on the other hand recover sharp genetic discontinuities among three of the morphological groups. We conclude that P. damicornis from Eastern Australia constitutes a cryptic species complex. The misinterpretation of taxonomical units within P. damicornis may well explain its perceived variation in the ecology, biology and life history across its range.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  19. Gross and microscopic pathology of hard and soft corals in New Caledonia.

    PubMed

    Work, Thierry M; Aeby, Greta S; Lasne, Gregory; Tribollet, Aline

    2014-07-01

    We surveyed the reefs of Grande Terre, New Caledonia, for coral diseases in 2010 and 2013. Lesions encountered in hard and soft corals were systematically described at the gross and microscopic level. We sampled paired and normal tissues from 101 and 65 colonies in 2010 and 2013, respectively, comprising 51 species of corals from 27 genera. Tissue loss was the most common gross lesion sampled (40%) followed by discoloration (28%), growth anomalies (13%), bleaching (10%), and flatworm infestation (1%). When grouped by gross lesions, the diversity of microscopic lesions as measured by Shannon-Wiener index was highest for tissue loss, followed by discoloration, bleaching, and growth anomaly. Our findings document an extension of the range of certain diseases such as Porites trematodiasis and endolithic hypermycosis (dark spots) to the Western Pacific as well as the presence of a putative cnidarian endosymbiont. We also expand the range of species infected by cell-associated microbial aggregates, and confirm the trend that these aggregates predominate in dominant genera of corals in the Indo-Pacific. This study highlights the importance of including histopathology as an integral component of baseline coral disease surveys, because a given gross lesion might be associated with multiple potential causative agents.

  20. Gross and microscopic pathology of hard and soft corals in New Caledonia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Lasne, Gregory; Tribollet, Aline

    2014-01-01

    We surveyed the reefs of Grande Terre, New Caledonia, for coral diseases in 2010 and 2013. Lesions encountered in hard and soft corals were systematically described at the gross and microscopic level. We sampled paired and normal tissues from 101 and 65 colonies in 2010 and 2013, respectively, comprising 51 species of corals from 27 genera. Tissue loss was the most common gross lesion sampled (40%) followed by discoloration (28%), growth anomalies (13%), bleaching (10%), and flatworm infestation (1%). When grouped by gross lesions, the diversity of microscopic lesions as measured by Shannon–Wiener index was highest for tissue loss, followed by discoloration, bleaching, and growth anomaly. Our findings document an extension of the range of certain diseases such as Porites trematodiasis and endolithic hypermycosis (dark spots) to the Western Pacific as well as the presence of a putative cnidarian endosymbiont. We also expand the range of species infected by cell-associated microbial aggregates, and confirm the trend that these aggregates predominate in dominant genera of corals in the Indo-Pacific. This study highlights the importance of including histopathology as an integral component of baseline coral disease surveys, because a given gross lesion might be associated with multiple potential causative agents.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. [Community structure of zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) in Carrizales coral reef, Pacific coast, Mexico].

    PubMed

    Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Escobosa-González, Laura Elena; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar L; Medina-Rosas, Pedro; Calderón-Aguilera, Luis E

    2013-06-01

    Coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific and notably those of the continental coastline of Colima state are still poorly studied. Fortunately, recent efforts have been carried out by researchers from different Mexican institutions to fill up these information gaps. The aim of this study was to determine the ecological structure of the rich and undisturbed coral building communities of Carrizales by using the point transect interception method (25m-long). For this, three survey expeditions were conducted between June and October 2005 and September 2006; and for comparison purposes, the reef was subdivided according to its position in the bay, and depth (0 to 5 m, and 6 to 10 m). Thirteen coral species were observed in the area, with Pocillopora verrucosa as the most abundant, contributing up to 32.8% of total cover, followed by Porites panamensis and Pocillopora capitata with 11% and 7%, respectively. Other species, Pocillopora damicornis, Pavona gigantea, Pocillopora eydouxi and Pocillopora inflata accounted for 1.5% to 2% of coral cover whereas the remaining five species had cover of less than 1%. Seven of the observed species represented new records for Colima state coastline: Pocillopora eydouxi, P inflata, P meandrina, Pavona duerdeni, P varians, Psammocora stellata and P contigua. This last species is a relevant record, because it has never been observed before in the Eastern Pacific. Although there was no significant difference (ANOVA, p = 0.478) neither in the abundance between the sides of the bay, nor between the depths considered, and the shallow zone observed the higher coral cover. Live coral cover was up to 61%, one of the highest ever reported for the Mexican Pacific, including the Gulf of California. The observed values of diversity (H' = 0.44 +/- 0.02), uniformity (J' = 0.76 +/- 0.02), and taxonomic distinctness index (delta* = 45.87 +/- 3.16), showed that currently this is the most important coral reef of Colima coastline. Currently, this region does not

  3. A new species of monadal coral snake of the genus Micrurus (Serpentes, Elapidae) from western Amazon.

    PubMed

    Feitosa, Darlan Tavares; Da Silva, Nelson Jorge Jr; Pires, Matheus Godoy; Zaher, Hussam; Prudente, Ana Lúcia Da Costa

    2015-06-24

    We described a new species of monadal coral snake of the genus Micrurus from the region of Tabatinga and Leticia, along the boundaries of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. The new species can be distinguished from the other congeners by the combination of the following characters: absence of a pale nuchal collar; black cephalic-cap extending from rostral to firstdorsal scale and enclosing white tipped prefrontal scales; upper half of first to four supralabials and postoculars black; tricolor body coloration, with 27-31 black rings bordered by narrower white rings and 27-31 red rings; tail coloration similar to body, with alternating black rings bordered by irregular narrow white rings, red rings of the same width as the black rings; ventral scales 205-225; subcaudal scales 39-47.

  4. Effects of aggregation and species identity on the growth and behavior of mushroom corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elahi, R.

    2008-12-01

    Aggregations of fungiid corals are common on Indo-Pacific reefs, but visible signs of direct competition are uncommon. Although negative interactions between fungiids are generally thought to be negligible, the results of an experiment manipulating aggregation and species identity indicated that per capita calcification rates of Fungia concinna were depressed when surrounded by five other Fungia. The reduction in growth did not vary if neighbors were Fungia concinna or Fungia paumotensis, suggesting that these two related species overlap substantially in their competitive impacts. However, mucus production and movement occurred more frequently in heterospecific than conspecific groups. These results suggest that there is a cost to group living, but depressed growth must be weighed against the potential benefits of successful spawning in conspecific aggregations.

  5. The link between immunity and life history traits in scleractinian corals

    PubMed Central

    Dornberger, Lindsey; Beach-Letendre, Joshuah; Weil, Ernesto; Mydlarz, Laura D.

    2014-01-01

    Immunity is an important biological trait that influences the survival of individuals and the fitness of a species. Immune defenses are costly and likely compete for energy with other life-history traits, such as reproduction and growth, affecting the overall fitness of a species. Competition among these traits in scleractinian corals could influence the dynamics and structural integrity of coral reef communities. Due to variability in biological traits within populations and across species, it is likely that coral colonies within population/species adjust their immune system to the available resources. In corals, the innate immune system is composed of various pathways. The immune system components can be assessed in the absence (constitutive levels) and/or presence of stressors/pathogens (immune response). Comparisons of the constitutive levels of three immune pathways (melanin synthesis, antioxidant and antimicrobial) of closely related species of Scleractinian corals allowed to determine the link between immunity and reproduction and colony growth. First, we explored differences in constitutive immunity among closely related coral species of the genus Meandrina with different reproductive patterns (gonochoric vs. hermaphrodite). We then compared fast-growing branching vs. slow-growing massive Porites to test co-variation between constitutive immunity and growth rates and morphology in corals. Results indicate that there seems to be a relationship between constitutive immunity and sexual pattern with gonochoric species showing significantly higher levels of immunity than hermaphrodites. Therefore, gonochoric species maybe better suited to resist infections and overcome stressors. Constitutive immunity varied in relation with growth rates and colony morphology, but each species showed contrasting trends within the studied immune pathways. Fast-growing branching species appear to invest more in relatively low cost pathways of the immune system than slow

  6. The link between immunity and life history traits in scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Pinzón C, Jorge H; Dornberger, Lindsey; Beach-Letendre, Joshuah; Weil, Ernesto; Mydlarz, Laura D

    2014-01-01

    Immunity is an important biological trait that influences the survival of individuals and the fitness of a species. Immune defenses are costly and likely compete for energy with other life-history traits, such as reproduction and growth, affecting the overall fitness of a species. Competition among these traits in scleractinian corals could influence the dynamics and structural integrity of coral reef communities. Due to variability in biological traits within populations and across species, it is likely that coral colonies within population/species adjust their immune system to the available resources. In corals, the innate immune system is composed of various pathways. The immune system components can be assessed in the absence (constitutive levels) and/or presence of stressors/pathogens (immune response). Comparisons of the constitutive levels of three immune pathways (melanin synthesis, antioxidant and antimicrobial) of closely related species of Scleractinian corals allowed to determine the link between immunity and reproduction and colony growth. First, we explored differences in constitutive immunity among closely related coral species of the genus Meandrina with different reproductive patterns (gonochoric vs. hermaphrodite). We then compared fast-growing branching vs. slow-growing massive Porites to test co-variation between constitutive immunity and growth rates and morphology in corals. Results indicate that there seems to be a relationship between constitutive immunity and sexual pattern with gonochoric species showing significantly higher levels of immunity than hermaphrodites. Therefore, gonochoric species maybe better suited to resist infections and overcome stressors. Constitutive immunity varied in relation with growth rates and colony morphology, but each species showed contrasting trends within the studied immune pathways. Fast-growing branching species appear to invest more in relatively low cost pathways of the immune system than slow

  7. The implications of reduced metabolic rate in resource-limited corals.

    PubMed

    Jacobson, Lianne M; Edmunds, Peter J; Muller, Erik B; Nisbet, Roger M

    2016-03-01

    Many organisms exhibit depressed metabolism when resources are limited, a change that makes it possible to balance an energy budget. For symbiotic reef corals, daily cycles of light and periods of intense cloud cover can be chronic causes of food limitation through reduced photosynthesis. Furthermore, coral bleaching is common in present-day reefs, creating a context in which metabolic depression could have beneficial value to corals. In the present study, corals (massive Porites spp.) were exposed to an extreme case of resource limitation by starving them of food and light for 20 days. When resources were limited, the corals depressed area-normalized respiration to 37% of initial rates, and coral biomass declined to 64% of initial amounts, yet the corals continued to produce skeletal mass. However, the declines in biomass cannot account for the declines in area-normalized respiration, as mass-specific respiration declined to 30% of the first recorded time point. Thus, these corals appear to be capable of metabolic depression. It is possible that some coral species are better able to depress metabolic rates than others; such variation could explain differential survival during conditions that limit resources (e.g. shading). Furthermore, we found that maintenance of existing biomass, in part, supports the production of skeletal mass. This association could be explained if maintenance supplies needed energy (e.g. ATP) or inorganic carbon (i.e. CO2) that otherwise limits the production of skeletal mass. Finally, the observed metabolic depression can be explained as a change in pool sizes, and does not require a change in metabolic rules. PMID:26823098

  8. Faunal breaks and species composition of Indo-Pacific corals: the role of plate tectonics, environment and habitat distribution.

    PubMed

    Keith, S A; Baird, A H; Hughes, T P; Madin, J S; Connolly, S R

    2013-07-22

    Species richness gradients are ubiquitous in nature, but the mechanisms that generate and maintain these patterns at macroecological scales remain unresolved. We use a new approach that focuses on overlapping geographical ranges of species to reveal that Indo-Pacific corals are assembled within 11 distinct faunal provinces. Province limits are characterized by co-occurrence of multiple species range boundaries. Unexpectedly, these faunal breaks are poorly predicted by contemporary environmental conditions and the present-day distribution of habitat. Instead, faunal breaks show striking concordance with geological features (tectonic plates and mantle plume tracks). The depth range over which a species occurs, its larval development rate and genus age are important determinants of the likelihood that species will straddle faunal breaks. Our findings indicate that historical processes, habitat heterogeneity and species colonization ability account for more of the present-day biogeographical patterns of corals than explanations based on the contemporary distribution of reefs or environmental conditions. PMID:23698011

  9. Faunal breaks and species composition of Indo-Pacific corals: the role of plate tectonics, environment and habitat distribution.

    PubMed

    Keith, S A; Baird, A H; Hughes, T P; Madin, J S; Connolly, S R

    2013-07-22

    Species richness gradients are ubiquitous in nature, but the mechanisms that generate and maintain these patterns at macroecological scales remain unresolved. We use a new approach that focuses on overlapping geographical ranges of species to reveal that Indo-Pacific corals are assembled within 11 distinct faunal provinces. Province limits are characterized by co-occurrence of multiple species range boundaries. Unexpectedly, these faunal breaks are poorly predicted by contemporary environmental conditions and the present-day distribution of habitat. Instead, faunal breaks show striking concordance with geological features (tectonic plates and mantle plume tracks). The depth range over which a species occurs, its larval development rate and genus age are important determinants of the likelihood that species will straddle faunal breaks. Our findings indicate that historical processes, habitat heterogeneity and species colonization ability account for more of the present-day biogeographical patterns of corals than explanations based on the contemporary distribution of reefs or environmental conditions.

  10. Plasticity of larval pre-competency in response to temperature: observations on multiple broadcast spawning coral species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heyward, A. J.; Negri, A. P.

    2010-09-01

    The pre-competency period of coral larvae influences dispersal, and this may be affected under projected climate change conditions. In this laboratory study, we examined the influence of sea water temperature on the duration of pre-competency of larvae of four broadcast spawning coral species. Fungia repanda, Acropora millepora, A. spathulata and Symphyllia recta larvae demonstrated large differences in cohort competency levels when cultured over a 4°C range during the first 4 days post fertilisation. Warmer temperatures reduced pre-competency periods by at least a day for all species, but there were also indications of an upper temperature threshold of less than 32°C for the development of F. repanda, A. millepora and S. recta. These data suggest a general flexibility in ontogenic response to ambient water temperatures. Sea surface temperatures (SST) that differ at spawning time by as little as 2°C, due to inter-annual or latitudinal variation, are likely to alter coral larval dispersal ranges. In some locations, notably the central Indo-Pacific, where major coral spawning activity can coincide with seasonal SST maxima, a future 2°C increase due to climate change may have serious negative effects on coral development and distribution.

  11. Internal pH regulation facilitates in situ long-term acclimation of massive corals to end-of-century carbon dioxide conditions.

    PubMed

    Wall, M; Fietzke, J; Schmidt, G M; Fink, A; Hofmann, L C; de Beer, D; Fabricius, K E

    2016-01-01

    The resilience of tropical corals to ocean acidification depends on their ability to regulate the pH within their calcifying fluid (pHcf). Recent work suggests pHcf homeostasis under short-term exposure to pCO2 conditions predicted for 2100, but it is still unclear if pHcf homeostasis can be maintained throughout a corals lifetime. At CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea, massive Porites corals have grown along a natural seawater pH gradient for decades. This natural gradient, ranging from pH 8.1-7.4, provides an ideal platform to determine corals' pHcf (using boron isotopes). Porites maintained a similar pHcf (~8.24) at both a control (pH 8.1) and seep-influenced site (pH 7.9). Internal pHcf was slightly reduced (8.12) at seawater pH 7.6, and decreased to 7.94 at a site with a seawater pH of 7.4. A growth response model based on pHcf mirrors the observed distribution patterns of this species in the field. We suggest Porites has the capacity to acclimate after long-time exposure to end-of-century reduced seawater pH conditions and that strong control over pHcf represents a key mechanism to persist in future oceans. Only beyond end-of-century pCO2 conditions do they face their current physiological limit of pH homeostasis and pHcf begins to decrease. PMID:27477963

  12. Predator biomass, prey density, and species composition effects on group size in recruit coral reef fishes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeMartini, Edward E.; Anderson, Todd W.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Beets, James P.

    2011-01-01

    Group incidence and size are described for recruit parrotfishes, wrasses, and damselfishes on Hawaiian reefs over 3 years (2006–2008) at sites spanning the archipelago (20–28°N, 155–177°W). Coral-poor and coral-rich areas were surveyed at sites with both low (Hawaii Island) and high (Midway Atoll) predator densities, facilitating examination of relations among predator and recruit densities, habitat, and group metrics. Predator and recruit densities varied spatially and temporally, with a sixfold range in total recruit densities among years. Group (≥2 recruits) metrics varied with time and tracked predator and recruit densities and the proportion of schooling species. Groups often included heterospecifics whose proportion increased with group size. A non-saturating relationship between group size and recruit density suggests that the anti-predator benefits of aggregation exceeded competitive costs. Grouping behavior may have overarching importance for recruit survival—even at high recruit densities—and merits further study on Hawaiian reefs and elsewhere.

  13. Comparing Molecular Variation to Morphological Species Designations in the Deep-Sea Coral Narella Reveals New Insights into Seamount Coral Ranges

    PubMed Central

    Baco, Amy R.; Cairns, Stephen D.

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have countered the paradigm of seamount isolation, confounding conservation efforts at a critical time. Efforts to study deep-sea corals, one of the dominant taxa on seamounts, to understand seamount connectivity, are hampered by a lack of taxonomic keys. A prerequisite for connectivity is species overlap. Attempts to better understand species overlap using DNA barcoding methods suggest coral species are widely distributed on seamounts and nearby features. However, no baseline has been established for variation in these genetic markers relative to morphological species designations for deep-sea octocoral families. Here we assess levels of genetic variation in potential octocoral mitochondrial barcode markers relative to thoroughly examined morphological species in the genus Narella. The combination of six markers used here, approximately 3350 bp of the mitochondrial genome, resolved 83% of the morphological species. Our results show that two of the markers, ND2 and NCR1, are not sufficient to resolve genera within Primnoidae, let alone species. Re-evaluation of previous studies of seamount octocorals based on these results suggest that those studies were looking at distributions at a level higher than species, possibly even genus or subfamily. Results for Narella show that using more markers provides haplotypes with relatively narrow depth ranges on the seamounts studied. Given the lack of 100% resolution of species with such a large portion of the mitochondrial genome, we argue that previous genetic studies have not resolved the degree of species overlap on seamounts and that we may not have the power to even test the hypothesis of seamount isolation using mitochondrial markers, let alone refute it. Thus a precautionary approach is advocated in seamount conservation and management, and the potential for depth structuring should be considered. PMID:23029093

  14. Comparing molecular variation to morphological species designations in the deep-sea coral Narella reveals new insights into seamount coral ranges.

    PubMed

    Baco, Amy R; Cairns, Stephen D

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have countered the paradigm of seamount isolation, confounding conservation efforts at a critical time. Efforts to study deep-sea corals, one of the dominant taxa on seamounts, to understand seamount connectivity, are hampered by a lack of taxonomic keys. A prerequisite for connectivity is species overlap. Attempts to better understand species overlap using DNA barcoding methods suggest coral species are widely distributed on seamounts and nearby features. However, no baseline has been established for variation in these genetic markers relative to morphological species designations for deep-sea octocoral families. Here we assess levels of genetic variation in potential octocoral mitochondrial barcode markers relative to thoroughly examined morphological species in the genus Narella. The combination of six markers used here, approximately 3350 bp of the mitochondrial genome, resolved 83% of the morphological species. Our results show that two of the markers, ND2 and NCR1, are not sufficient to resolve genera within Primnoidae, let alone species. Re-evaluation of previous studies of seamount octocorals based on these results suggest that those studies were looking at distributions at a level higher than species, possibly even genus or subfamily. Results for Narella show that using more markers provides haplotypes with relatively narrow depth ranges on the seamounts studied. Given the lack of 100% resolution of species with such a large portion of the mitochondrial genome, we argue that previous genetic studies have not resolved the degree of species overlap on seamounts and that we may not have the power to even test the hypothesis of seamount isolation using mitochondrial markers, let alone refute it. Thus a precautionary approach is advocated in seamount conservation and management, and the potential for depth structuring should be considered. PMID:23029093

  15. Comparing molecular variation to morphological species designations in the deep-sea coral Narella reveals new insights into seamount coral ranges.

    PubMed

    Baco, Amy R; Cairns, Stephen D

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have countered the paradigm of seamount isolation, confounding conservation efforts at a critical time. Efforts to study deep-sea corals, one of the dominant taxa on seamounts, to understand seamount connectivity, are hampered by a lack of taxonomic keys. A prerequisite for connectivity is species overlap. Attempts to better understand species overlap using DNA barcoding methods suggest coral species are widely distributed on seamounts and nearby features. However, no baseline has been established for variation in these genetic markers relative to morphological species designations for deep-sea octocoral families. Here we assess levels of genetic variation in potential octocoral mitochondrial barcode markers relative to thoroughly examined morphological species in the genus Narella. The combination of six markers used here, approximately 3350 bp of the mitochondrial genome, resolved 83% of the morphological species. Our results show that two of the markers, ND2 and NCR1, are not sufficient to resolve genera within Primnoidae, let alone species. Re-evaluation of previous studies of seamount octocorals based on these results suggest that those studies were looking at distributions at a level higher than species, possibly even genus or subfamily. Results for Narella show that using more markers provides haplotypes with relatively narrow depth ranges on the seamounts studied. Given the lack of 100% resolution of species with such a large portion of the mitochondrial genome, we argue that previous genetic studies have not resolved the degree of species overlap on seamounts and that we may not have the power to even test the hypothesis of seamount isolation using mitochondrial markers, let alone refute it. Thus a precautionary approach is advocated in seamount conservation and management, and the potential for depth structuring should be considered.

  16. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: an assessment of coral reef fishes in the US Pacific Islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zgliczynski, B. J.; Williams, I. D.; Schroeder, R. E.; Nadon, M. O.; Richards, B. L.; Sandin, S. A.

    2013-09-01

    Widespread declines among many coral reef fisheries have led scientists and managers to become increasingly concerned over the extinction risk facing some species. To aid in assessing the extinction risks facing coral reef fishes, large-scale censuses of the abundance and distribution of individual species are critically important. We use fisheries-independent data collected as part of the NOAA Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program from 2000 to 2009 to describe the range and density across the US Pacific of coral reef fishes included on The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 2011 Red List of Threatened Species. Forty-five species, including sharks, rays, groupers, humphead wrasse ( Cheilinus undulatus), and bumphead parrotfish ( Bolbometopon muricatum), included on the IUCN List, were recorded in the US Pacific Islands. Most species were generally rare in the US Pacific with the exception of a few species, principally small groupers and reef sharks. The greatest diversity and densities of IUCN-listed fishes were recorded at remote and uninhabited islands of the Pacific Remote Island Areas; in general, lower densities were observed at reefs of inhabited islands. Our findings complement IUCN assessment efforts, emphasize the efficacy of large-scale assessment and monitoring efforts in providing quantitative data on reef fish assemblages, and highlight the importance of protecting populations at remote and uninhabited islands where some species included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species can be observed in abundance.

  17. Identifying the world's most climate change vulnerable species: a systematic trait-based assessment of all birds, amphibians and corals.

    PubMed

    Foden, Wendy B; Butchart, Stuart H M; Stuart, Simon N; Vié, Jean-Christophe; Akçakaya, H Resit; Angulo, Ariadne; DeVantier, Lyndon M; Gutsche, Alexander; Turak, Emre; Cao, Long; Donner, Simon D; Katariya, Vineet; Bernard, Rodolphe; Holland, Robert A; Hughes, Adrian F; O'Hanlon, Susannah E; Garnett, Stephen T; Sekercioğlu, Cagan H; Mace, Georgina M

    2013-01-01

    Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, including increasing extinction rates. Current approaches to quantifying such impacts focus on measuring exposure to climatic change and largely ignore the biological differences between species that may significantly increase or reduce their vulnerability. To address this, we present a framework for assessing three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, namely sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity; this draws on species' biological traits and their modeled exposure to projected climatic changes. In the largest such assessment to date, we applied this approach to each of the world's birds, amphibians and corals (16,857 species). The resulting assessments identify the species with greatest relative vulnerability to climate change and the geographic areas in which they are concentrated, including the Amazon basin for amphibians and birds, and the central Indo-west Pacific (Coral Triangle) for corals. We found that high concentration areas for species with traits conferring highest sensitivity and lowest adaptive capacity differ from those of highly exposed species, and we identify areas where exposure-based assessments alone may over or under-estimate climate change impacts. We found that 608-851 bird (6-9%), 670-933 amphibian (11-15%), and 47-73 coral species (6-9%) are both highly climate change vulnerable and already threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List. The remaining highly climate change vulnerable species represent new priorities for conservation. Fewer species are highly climate change vulnerable under lower IPCC SRES emissions scenarios, indicating that reducing greenhouse emissions will reduce climate change driven extinctions. Our study answers the growing call for a more biologically and ecologically inclusive approach to assessing climate change vulnerability. By facilitating independent assessment of the three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, our approach can

  18. Negative indirect effects of neighbors on imperiled scleractinian corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnston, Lyza; Miller, M. W.

    2014-12-01

    Predation pressure on an individual may be influenced by spatial associations with other organisms. In the case of rare and imperiled species, such indirect interactions may affect the persistence and recovery of local populations. This study examined the effects of coral neighborhood composition on the foraging behavior and impact of the corallivorous gastropod, Coralliophila abbreviata. We conducted a manipulative field experiment in which focal colonies of the threatened scleractinian coral Acropora cervicornis had no neighbors, conspecific neighbors, alternative prey ( Orbicella faveolata) neighbors, or non-prey ( Porites asteroides) neighbors. Individually tagged C. abbreviata were then seeded into the study area and allowed to colonize the experimental plots. Initial colonization was significantly affected by the species of neighboring corals and snail abundance after colonization was negatively correlated with focal colony growth. Snails exhibited a strong prey preference for A. cervicornis over O. faveolata and responded numerically to neighborhood quality (i.e., relative preference for neighboring corals). Thus, conspecific neighbors had the greatest predator-mediated negative effect on focal colony performance followed by O. faveolata neighbors. The results suggest that C. abbreviata mediate apparent competition between O. faveolata and A. cervicornis as both species contributed to the local abundance of their shared predator. Additionally, home range estimates for tagged C. abbreviata were calculated, compared among sexes, and found to be significantly greater for males than for females. Overall, this study sheds light on the foraging behavior of an important coral predator and highlights the potential importance of consumer-mediated indirect interactions in the dynamics of severely reduced populations. The results also have direct implications for conservation and population enhancement efforts.

  19. The microbiome of coral surface mucus has a key role in mediating holobiont health and survival upon disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Glasl, Bettina; Herndl, Gerhard J; Frade, Pedro R

    2016-01-01

    Microbes are well-recognized members of the coral holobiont. However, little is known about the short-term dynamics of mucus-associated microbial communities under natural conditions and after disturbances, and how these dynamics relate to the host's health. Here we examined the natural variability of prokaryotic communities (based on 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing) associating with the surface mucus layer (SML) of Porites astreoides, a species exhibiting cyclical mucus aging and shedding. Shifts in the prokaryotic community composition during mucus aging led to the prevalence of opportunistic and potentially pathogenic bacteria (Verrucomicrobiaceae and Vibrionaceae) in aged mucus and to a twofold increase in prokaryotic abundance. After the release of aged mucus sheets, the community reverted to its original state, dominated by Endozoicimonaceae and Oxalobacteraceae. Furthermore, we followed the fate of the coral holobiont upon depletion of its natural mucus microbiome through antibiotics treatment. After re-introduction to the reef, healthy-looking microbe-depleted corals started exhibiting clear signs of bleaching and necrosis. Recovery versus mortality of the P. astreoides holobiont was related to the degree of change in abundance distribution of the mucus microbiome. We conclude that the natural prokaryotic community inhabiting the coral SML contributes to coral health and that cyclical mucus shedding has a key role in coral microbiome dynamics. PMID:26953605

  20. The microbiome of coral surface mucus has a key role in mediating holobiont health and survival upon disturbance.

    PubMed

    Glasl, Bettina; Herndl, Gerhard J; Frade, Pedro R

    2016-09-01

    Microbes are well-recognized members of the coral holobiont. However, little is known about the short-term dynamics of mucus-associated microbial communities under natural conditions and after disturbances, and how these dynamics relate to the host's health. Here we examined the natural variability of prokaryotic communities (based on 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing) associating with the surface mucus layer (SML) of Porites astreoides, a species exhibiting cyclical mucus aging and shedding. Shifts in the prokaryotic community composition during mucus aging led to the prevalence of opportunistic and potentially pathogenic bacteria (Verrucomicrobiaceae and Vibrionaceae) in aged mucus and to a twofold increase in prokaryotic abundance. After the release of aged mucus sheets, the community reverted to its original state, dominated by Endozoicimonaceae and Oxalobacteraceae. Furthermore, we followed the fate of the coral holobiont upon depletion of its natural mucus microbiome through antibiotics treatment. After re-introduction to the reef, healthy-looking microbe-depleted corals started exhibiting clear signs of bleaching and necrosis. Recovery versus mortality of the P. astreoides holobiont was related to the degree of change in abundance distribution of the mucus microbiome. We conclude that the natural prokaryotic community inhabiting the coral SML contributes to coral health and that cyclical mucus shedding has a key role in coral microbiome dynamics. PMID:26953605

  1. The microbiome of coral surface mucus has a key role in mediating holobiont health and survival upon disturbance.

    PubMed

    Glasl, Bettina; Herndl, Gerhard J; Frade, Pedro R

    2016-09-01

    Microbes are well-recognized members of the coral holobiont. However, little is known about the short-term dynamics of mucus-associated microbial communities under natural conditions and after disturbances, and how these dynamics relate to the host's health. Here we examined the natural variability of prokaryotic communities (based on 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing) associating with the surface mucus layer (SML) of Porites astreoides, a species exhibiting cyclical mucus aging and shedding. Shifts in the prokaryotic community composition during mucus aging led to the prevalence of opportunistic and potentially pathogenic bacteria (Verrucomicrobiaceae and Vibrionaceae) in aged mucus and to a twofold increase in prokaryotic abundance. After the release of aged mucus sheets, the community reverted to its original state, dominated by Endozoicimonaceae and Oxalobacteraceae. Furthermore, we followed the fate of the coral holobiont upon depletion of its natural mucus microbiome through antibiotics treatment. After re-introduction to the reef, healthy-looking microbe-depleted corals started exhibiting clear signs of bleaching and necrosis. Recovery versus mortality of the P. astreoides holobiont was related to the degree of change in abundance distribution of the mucus microbiome. We conclude that the natural prokaryotic community inhabiting the coral SML contributes to coral health and that cyclical mucus shedding has a key role in coral microbiome dynamics.

  2. Identifying the World's Most Climate Change Vulnerable Species: A Systematic Trait-Based Assessment of all Birds, Amphibians and Corals

    PubMed Central

    Foden, Wendy B.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Stuart, Simon N.; Vié, Jean-Christophe; Akçakaya, H. Resit; Angulo, Ariadne; DeVantier, Lyndon M.; Gutsche, Alexander; Turak, Emre; Cao, Long; Donner, Simon D.; Katariya, Vineet; Bernard, Rodolphe; Holland, Robert A.; Hughes, Adrian F.; O’Hanlon, Susannah E.; Garnett, Stephen T.; Şekercioğlu, Çagan H.; Mace, Georgina M.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, including increasing extinction rates. Current approaches to quantifying such impacts focus on measuring exposure to climatic change and largely ignore the biological differences between species that may significantly increase or reduce their vulnerability. To address this, we present a framework for assessing three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, namely sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity; this draws on species’ biological traits and their modeled exposure to projected climatic changes. In the largest such assessment to date, we applied this approach to each of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals (16,857 species). The resulting assessments identify the species with greatest relative vulnerability to climate change and the geographic areas in which they are concentrated, including the Amazon basin for amphibians and birds, and the central Indo-west Pacific (Coral Triangle) for corals. We found that high concentration areas for species with traits conferring highest sensitivity and lowest adaptive capacity differ from those of highly exposed species, and we identify areas where exposure-based assessments alone may over or under-estimate climate change impacts. We found that 608–851 bird (6–9%), 670–933 amphibian (11–15%), and 47–73 coral species (6–9%) are both highly climate change vulnerable and already threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List. The remaining highly climate change vulnerable species represent new priorities for conservation. Fewer species are highly climate change vulnerable under lower IPCC SRES emissions scenarios, indicating that reducing greenhouse emissions will reduce climate change driven extinctions. Our study answers the growing call for a more biologically and ecologically inclusive approach to assessing climate change vulnerability. By facilitating independent assessment of the three dimensions of climate change vulnerability

  3. Variation in the size structure of corals is related to environmental extremes in the Persian Gulf.

    PubMed

    Bauman, Andrew G; Pratchett, Morgan S; Baird, Andrew H; Riegl, Bernhard; Heron, Scott F; Feary, David A

    2013-03-01

    The size structure of coral populations is the culmination of key demographic events, including recruitment, mortality and growth, thereby providing important insights to recent ecological dynamics. Importantly, the size structure of corals reflects both intrinsic (inherent life-history characteristics) and extrinsic (enhanced mortality due to chronic or acute disturbances) forcing on local populations, enabling post-hoc assessment of spatial and taxonomic differences in susceptibility to disturbance. This study examined the size structure of four locally abundant corals (Acropora downingi, Favia pallida, Platygyra daedalea, and massive Porites spp.) in two regions of the Persian Gulf: the southern Gulf (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and eastern Gulf (western Musandam). Significant and consistent differences were apparent in mean colony sizes and size-distributions between regions. All corals in the southern Gulf were significantly smaller, and their size structure positively skewed and relatively more leptokurtic (i.e., peaky) compared to corals in the eastern Gulf. Sea surface temperatures, salinity, and the recent frequency of mass bleaching are all higher, in the southern Gulf, suggesting higher mortality rates and/or slower growth in these populations. Differences in size structure between locations were more pronounced than differences between species at each location, suggesting that extreme differences in environmental conditions and disturbance events have a greater influence on population dynamics in the Gulf than inherent differences in their life-history characteristics.

  4. 88Sr/86Sr fractionation in inorganic aragonite and in corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fruchter, Noa; Eisenhauer, Anton; Dietzel, Martin; Fietzke, Jan; Böhm, Florian; Montagna, Paolo; Stein, Moti; Lazar, Boaz; Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; Erez, Jonathan

    2016-04-01

    Conflicting results have been reported for the stable Sr isotope fractionation, specifically with respect to the influence of temperature. In an experimental study we have investigated the stable Sr isotope systematics for inorganically precipitated and biogenic (coral) aragonite (natural and laboratory-cultured). Inorganic aragonite precipitation experiments were performed from natural seawater using the CO2 diffusion technique. The experiments were performed at different temperatures and different carbonate ion concentrations. 88Sr/86Sr of the inorganic aragonite precipitated in the experiments are 0.2‰ lighter than seawater, but showed no correlation to the water temperature or to CO32- concentration. Similar observations are made in different coral species (Cladocora caespitosa, Porites sp. and Acropora sp.), with identical fractionation from the bulk solution and no correlation to temperature or CO32- concentration. The lack of 88Sr/86Sr variability in corals at different environmental parameters and the similarity to the 88Sr/86Sr fractionation in inorganic aragonite may indicate a similar Sr incorporation mechanism in corals skeleton and inorganic aragonite, and therefore the previously proposed Rayleigh-based multi element model (Gaetani et al., 2011) cannot explain the process of Sr incorporation in the coral skeletal material. It is proposed that the relatively constant 88Sr/86Sr fractionation in aragonite can be used for paleo reconstruction of seawater 88Sr/86Sr composition. The seawater 88Sr/86Sr ratio reconstruction can be further used in calcite samples to reconstruct paleo precipitation rates.

  5. Assessing scleractinian corals as recorders for paleo-pH: Empirical calibration and vital effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hönisch, B.; Hemming, N. G.; Grottoli, A. G.; Amat, A.; Hanson, G. N.; Bijma, J.

    2004-09-01

    Laboratory experiments on the branching, symbiont-bearing coral genus Porites and Acropora have been carried out to determine the dependence of the skeletal boron isotopic composition (δ 11B) on the pH of seawater. The results show a clear relationship similar to previously established empirical calibrations for planktonic foraminifera and inorganic calcite. A -0.6‰ offset exists between P. cylindrica and A. nobilis which is systematic over the pH range of 7.7-8.2. To test whether the δ 11B of coral skeletons changes with physiological processes such as photosynthesis and respiration, corals were grown along a depth transect in their natural environment and under controlled conditions in the laboratory at varying light intensities and food supply. Although we also observe an isotopic offset between P. compressa and Montipora verrucosa, neither experimental treatment systematically changed the δ 11B of the two species. These findings are encouraging for using the boron isotope paleo-pH proxy in corals, because it appears that seawater pH is the dominant control on the boron isotopic composition in corals.

  6. Identification of scleractinian coral recruits using fluorescent censusing and DNA barcoding techniques.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Chia-Min; de Palmas, Stéphane; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Denis, Vianney; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-01-01

    The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC]) could be useful for increasing the resolution of coral spat identification in ecological studies. One hundred and fifty settlement plates were emplaced at nine sites on the fringing reefs of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan between April 2011 and September 2012. A total of 248 living coral spats and juveniles (with basal areas ranging from 0.21 to 134.57 mm(2)) were detected on the plates with the aid of fluorescent light and collected for molecular analyses. Using the COI DNA barcoding technique, 90.3% (224/248) of coral spats were successfully identified into six genera, including Acropora, Isopora, Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Pavona. PaxC further separated I. cuneata and I. palifera of Isopora from Acropora, and ORF successfully identified the species of Pocillopora (except P. meandrina and P. eydouxi). Moreover, other cnidarian species such as actinarians, zoanthids, and Millepora species were visually found using fluorescence and identified by COI DNA barcoding. This combination of existing approaches greatly improved the taxonomic resolution of early coral life stages, which to date has been mainly limited to the family level based on skeletal identification. Overall, this study suggests important improvements for the identification of coral recruits in ecological studies. PMID:25211345

  7. Identification of Scleractinian Coral Recruits Using Fluorescent Censusing and DNA Barcoding Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Hsu, Chia-Min; de Palmas, Stéphane; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Denis, Vianney; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2014-01-01

    The identification of coral recruits has been problematic due to a lack of definitive morphological characters being available for higher taxonomic resolution. In this study, we tested whether fluorescent detection of coral recruits used in combinations of different DNA-barcoding markers (cytochrome oxidase I gene [COI], open reading frame [ORF], and nuclear Pax-C intron [PaxC]) could be useful for increasing the resolution of coral spat identification in ecological studies. One hundred and fifty settlement plates were emplaced at nine sites on the fringing reefs of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan between April 2011 and September 2012. A total of 248 living coral spats and juveniles (with basal areas ranging from 0.21 to 134.57 mm2) were detected on the plates with the aid of fluorescent light and collected for molecular analyses. Using the COI DNA barcoding technique, 90.3% (224/248) of coral spats were successfully identified into six genera, including Acropora, Isopora, Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Pavona. PaxC further separated I. cuneata and I. palifera of Isopora from Acropora, and ORF successfully identified the species of Pocillopora (except P. meandrina and P. eydouxi). Moreover, other cnidarian species such as actinarians, zoanthids, and Millepora species were visually found using fluorescence and identified by COI DNA barcoding. This combination of existing approaches greatly improved the taxonomic resolution of early coral life stages, which to date has been mainly limited to the family level based on skeletal identification. Overall, this study suggests important improvements for the identification of coral recruits in ecological studies. PMID:25211345

  8. A new species of Nebalia (Crustacea, Leptostraca) from coral reefs at Pulau Payar, Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Othman, B H R; Toda, T; Kikuchi, T

    2016-01-01

    A new species of Leptostraca, Nebalia terazakii sp. n. is described and figured. The species was sampled from the coral reefs of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi, Malaysia. There are 32 existing species of Nebalia but Nebalia terazakii sp. n. can be distinguished from the other known species of Nebalia by the following combination of characters: the rostrum is 1.89 times as long as wide and the eyes have no dorsal papilla or lobes. Article 4 of the antennular peduncle has one short thick distal spine. The proximal article of the endopod of maxilla 2 is shorter than the distal, a feature peculiar to Nebalia terazakii sp. n., the exopod of maxilla 2 is longer than article 1 of the endopod, the posterior dorsal borders of the pleonites 6 to 7 are provided with distally sharp denticles, anal plate with prominent lateral shoulder and finally, the terminal seta of the caudal rami is 1.17 times the length of the entire rami. PMID:27551211

  9. Dietary partitioning by five sympatric species of stingray (Dasyatidae) on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    O'Shea, O R; Thums, M; van Keulen, M; Kempster, R M; Meekan, M G

    2013-06-01

    Dietary characteristics and the degree of dietary partitioning by five species of sympatric stingray were assessed using stomach content and sediment analyses within a coral reef lagoon at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia (the cowtail Pastinachus atrus, blue-spotted fantail Taeniura lymma, blue-spotted mask Neotrygon kuhlii, porcupine Urogymnus asperrimus rays and the reticulate whipray Himantura uarnak). A total of 2804 items were recovered from the stomachs of 170 rays and 3215 individual taxa from the environment, which were used in selectivity analyses. Twenty-four prey taxa were identified from stomach contents and pooled into 10 taxonomic categories for analysis, of which annelids, prawns, brachyurans and bivalves were the most abundant, together accounting for 96% of the diet. Himantura uarnak had the greatest interspecific dissimilarity in diet, consuming a larger proportion of crustaceans, notably penaeids (41% of total diet) than the other four species of rays, all of which had diets dominated by annelids (71-82% of total diet). Crustacean specialization by H. uarnak may exist to maximize resources and reduce competition among sympatric species. The remaining species may partition resources on the basis of space, rather than diet. PMID:23731138

  10. A new species of Nebalia (Crustacea, Leptostraca) from coral reefs at Pulau Payar, Malaysia

    PubMed Central

    Othman, B.H.R.; Toda, T.; Kikuchi, T.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract A new species of Leptostraca, Nebalia terazakii sp. n. is described and figured. The species was sampled from the coral reefs of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi, Malaysia. There are 32 existing species of Nebalia but Nebalia terazakii sp. n. can be distinguished from the other known species of Nebalia by the following combination of characters: the rostrum is 1.89 times as long as wide and the eyes have no dorsal papilla or lobes. Article 4 of the antennular peduncle has one short thick distal spine. The proximal article of the endopod of maxilla 2 is shorter than the distal, a feature peculiar to Nebalia terazakii sp. n., the exopod of maxilla 2 is longer than article 1 of the endopod, the posterior dorsal borders of the pleonites 6 to 7 are provided with distally sharp denticles, anal plate with prominent lateral shoulder and finally, the terminal seta of the caudal rami is 1.17 times the length of the entire rami. PMID:27551211

  11. 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.

  12. Species boundaries and phylogenetic relationships between Atlanto-Mediterranean shallow-water and deep-sea coral associated Hexadella species (Porifera, Ianthellidae).

    PubMed

    Reveillaud, Julie; Remerie, Thomas; van Soest, Rob; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Cárdenas, Paco; Derycke, Sofie; Xavier, Joana R; Rigaux, Annelien; Vanreusel, Ann

    2010-07-01

    Coral reefs constitute the most diverse ecosystem of the marine realm and an increasing number of studies are focusing on coral species boundaries, distribution, and on processes that control species ranges. However, less attention has been paid to coral associated species. Deep-sea sponges dominate cold-water coral ecosystems, but virtually nothing is known about their molecular diversity. Moreover, species boundaries based on morphology may sometimes be inadequate, since sponges have few diagnostic characters. In this study, we investigated the molecular diversity within the genus Hexadella (Porifera, Demospongiae, Verongida, Ianthellidae) from the European shallow-water environment to the deep-sea coral ecosystems. Three molecular markers were used: one mitochondrial (COI) and two nuclear gene fragments (28S rDNA and the ATPS intron). Phylogenetic analyses revealed deeply divergent deep-sea clades congruent across the mitochondrial and nuclear markers. One clade contained specimens from the Irish, the Scottish, and the Norwegian margins and the Greenland Sea (Hexadella dedritifera) while another clade contained specimens from the Ionian Sea, the Bay of Biscay, and the Irish margin (H. cf. dedritifera). Moreover, these deeply divergent deep-sea clades showed a wide distribution suggesting a connection between the reefs. The results also point to the existence of a new deep-sea species (Hexadella sp.) in the Mediterranean Sea and of a cryptic shallow-water species (Hexadella cf. pruvoti) in the Gorringe Bank. In contrast, low genetic differentiation between H. cf. dedritifera and H. pruvoti from the Mediterranean Sea was observed. All Hexadella racovitzai specimens from the Mediterranean Sea (shallow and deep) to the Atlantic formed a monophyletic group.

  13. A new species of antipatharian coral (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia: Schizopathidae) from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

    SciTech Connect

    Opresko, Dennis M; Breedy, Odalisca

    2010-09-01

    A new species of black coral, Aphanipathes colombiana (Cnidaria:Antipatharia) from the Caribbean coast of Colombia is described. The species forms small flabellate colonies with anisomorphic polypar spines. It is morphologically similar to the western Atlantic species A. thyoides (Pourtales) but its hypostomal polypar spines are not reduced in size. The new species also resembles the Indo-Pacific species A. reticulata van Pesch but it has smooth-surfaced polypar spines, whereas in A. reticulata these spines have small tubercles on their surface

  14. [Taxonomy and distribution of the hermatypic corals (Scleractinia) of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico].

    PubMed

    Ketchum, J T; Reyes Bonilla, H

    2001-01-01

    In spite of some recent detailed accounts about the scleractinian corals of the Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, taxonomic work on this fauna has been sparse. Consequently, solid taxonomic background is needed, especially to support further studies at community level. During five field trips (between 1990 and 1995) collections were made at different depths on three of the archipelago islands: Socorro, Clarión and San Benedicto. A total of 250 specimens were collected. Coral identifications were made using co-occurrence methods concomitant with their descriptions, diagnosis and illustrations from a number of publications, and with morphological analysis. Coral distributions were taken from literature. Twenty-two species of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals are described, with their local and world-wide geographic distribution, and each illustrated with macro and microphotographs. Keys to the genera and species of the archipelago are also included. Porites and Pocillopora exhibit the highest species richness with a great intraspecific variation, as well as a number of morphological convergences within and between species which form species complexes, and several new species and morphs. Clarion, the oldest and most isolated island of the archipelago, harbors a number of coral morphs that are probable new species. More than half of the species found at the Revillagigedos are distributed exclusively on oceanic islands of the eastern Pacific and close to one third exist only at this archipelago. The Revillagigedos have strong faunal similarities and share a number of endemics with Clipperton Atoll, all of which support the idea that these islands constitute a separate biogeographic subregion within the eastern Pacific. Lastly, the present document substantiates the hypothesis that the Revillagigedos are important stepping-stone islands for the migration of in-shore marine species from the Central to the eastern Pacific.

  15. Pigmentation of massive corals as a simple bioindicator for marine water quality.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Timothy F; Fabricius, Katharina E

    2012-01-01

    Photo-acclimatisation by the algal endosymbionts of scleractinian corals to changes in environmental conditions may influence their density and/or the concentration of photosynthetic pigments, and hence coral brightness, on short time-scales. To examine coral pigmentation as a bioindicator of water quality, the brightness of massive corals was quantified using colour charts, concentrations of the pigment chlorophyll a and reflectance spectrometry in the field and with manipulative experiments. Along a water quality gradient, massive Porites became progressively lighter as nutrients decreased and irradiance increased. A laboratory experiment showed that Porites nubbins darkened within 25 days following exposure to reduced water quality. The results of a transplantation experiment of Porites nubbins in a manipulation incorporating multiple depths and zones of water quality confirmed colony brightness as a simple tool to monitor changes in marine water quality, provided effects due to other influences on pigmentation, e.g. seawater temperatures, are taken into consideration.

  16. Coral population dynamics across consecutive mass mortality events.

    PubMed

    Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Sam

    2015-11-01

    Annual coral mortality events due to increased atmospheric heat may occur regularly from the middle of the century and are considered apocalyptic for coral reefs. In the Arabian/Persian Gulf, this situation has already occurred and population dynamics of four widespread corals (Acropora downingi, Porites harrisoni, Dipsastrea pallida, Cyphastrea micropthalma) were examined across the first-ever occurrence of four back-to-back mass mortality events (2009-2012). Mortality was driven by diseases in 2009, bleaching and subsequent diseases in 2010/2011/2012. 2009 reduced P. harrisoni cover and size, the other events increasingly reduced overall cover (2009: -10%; 2010: -20%; 2011: -20%; 2012: -15%) and affected all examined species. Regeneration was only observed after the first disturbance. P. harrisoni and A. downingi severely declined from 2010 due to bleaching and subsequent white syndromes, while D. pallida and P. daedalea declined from 2011 due to bleaching and black-band disease. C. microphthalma cover was not affected. In all species, most large corals were lost while fission due to partial tissue mortality bolstered small size classes. This general shrinkage led to a decrease of coral cover and a dramatic reduction of fecundity. Transition matrices for disturbed and undisturbed conditions were evaluated as Life Table Response Experiment and showed that C. microphthalma changed the least in size-class dynamics and fecundity, suggesting they were 'winners'. In an ordered 'degradation cascade', impacts decreased from the most common to the least common species, leading to step-wise removal of previously dominant species. A potentially permanent shift from high- to low-coral cover with different coral community and size structure can be expected due to the demographic dynamics resultant from the disturbances. Similarities to degradation of other Caribbean and Pacific reefs are discussed. As comparable environmental conditions and mortality patterns must be

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

    SciTech Connect

    Foster, A.B.

    1985-01-01

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

  18. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates of different species from a coral reef community after a nutrient pulse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    den Haan, Joost; Huisman, Jef; Brocke, Hannah J.; Goehlich, Henry; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R. W.; van Heeringen, Seth; Honcoop, Saskia A. S.; Bleyenberg, Tanja E.; Schouten, Stefan; Cerli, Chiara; Hoitinga, Leo; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Visser, Petra M.

    2016-06-01

    Terrestrial runoff after heavy rainfall can increase nutrient concentrations in waters overlying coral reefs that otherwise experience low nutrient levels. Field measurements during a runoff event showed a sharp increase in nitrate (75-fold), phosphate (31-fold) and ammonium concentrations (3-fold) in waters overlying a fringing reef at the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean). To understand how benthic reef organisms make use of such nutrient pulses, we determined ammonium, nitrate and phosphate uptake rates for one abundant coral species, turf algae, six macroalgal and two benthic cyanobacterial species in a series of laboratory experiments. Nutrient uptake rates differed among benthic functional groups. The filamentous macroalga Cladophora spp., turf algae and the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula had the highest uptake rates per unit biomass, whereas the coral Madracis mirabilis had the lowest. Combining nutrient uptake rates with the standing biomass of each functional group on the reef, we estimated that the ammonium and phosphate delivered during runoff events is mostly taken up by turf algae and the two macroalgae Lobophora variegata and Dictyota pulchella. Our results support the often proposed, but rarely tested, assumption that turf algae and opportunistic macroalgae primarily benefit from episodic inputs of nutrients to coral reefs.

  19. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates of different species from a coral reef community after a nutrient pulse.

    PubMed

    den Haan, Joost; Huisman, Jef; Brocke, Hannah J; Goehlich, Henry; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R W; van Heeringen, Seth; Honcoop, Saskia A S; Bleyenberg, Tanja E; Schouten, Stefan; Cerli, Chiara; Hoitinga, Leo; Vermeij, Mark J A; Visser, Petra M

    2016-01-01

    Terrestrial runoff after heavy rainfall can increase nutrient concentrations in waters overlying coral reefs that otherwise experience low nutrient levels. Field measurements during a runoff event showed a sharp increase in nitrate (75-fold), phosphate (31-fold) and ammonium concentrations (3-fold) in waters overlying a fringing reef at the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean). To understand how benthic reef organisms make use of such nutrient pulses, we determined ammonium, nitrate and phosphate uptake rates for one abundant coral species, turf algae, six macroalgal and two benthic cyanobacterial species in a series of laboratory experiments. Nutrient uptake rates differed among benthic functional groups. The filamentous macroalga Cladophora spp., turf algae and the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula had the highest uptake rates per unit biomass, whereas the coral Madracis mirabilis had the lowest. Combining nutrient uptake rates with the standing biomass of each functional group on the reef, we estimated that the ammonium and phosphate delivered during runoff events is mostly taken up by turf algae and the two macroalgae Lobophora variegata and Dictyota pulchella. Our results support the often proposed, but rarely tested, assumption that turf algae and opportunistic macroalgae primarily benefit from episodic inputs of nutrients to coral reefs. PMID:27353576

  20. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates of different species from a coral reef community after a nutrient pulse

    PubMed Central

    den Haan, Joost; Huisman, Jef; Brocke, Hannah J.; Goehlich, Henry; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R. W.; van Heeringen, Seth; Honcoop, Saskia A. S.; Bleyenberg, Tanja E.; Schouten, Stefan; Cerli, Chiara; Hoitinga, Leo; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Visser, Petra M.

    2016-01-01

    Terrestrial runoff after heavy rainfall can increase nutrient concentrations in waters overlying coral reefs that otherwise experience low nutrient levels. Field measurements during a runoff event showed a sharp increase in nitrate (75-fold), phosphate (31-fold) and ammonium concentrations (3-fold) in waters overlying a fringing reef at the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean). To understand how benthic reef organisms make use of such nutrient pulses, we determined ammonium, nitrate and phosphate uptake rates for one abundant coral species, turf algae, six macroalgal and two benthic cyanobacterial species in a series of laboratory experiments. Nutrient uptake rates differed among benthic functional groups. The filamentous macroalga Cladophora spp., turf algae and the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula had the highest uptake rates per unit biomass, whereas the coral Madracis mirabilis had the lowest. Combining nutrient uptake rates with the standing biomass of each functional group on the reef, we estimated that the ammonium and phosphate delivered during runoff events is mostly taken up by turf algae and the two macroalgae Lobophora variegata and Dictyota pulchella. Our results support the often proposed, but rarely tested, assumption that turf algae and opportunistic macroalgae primarily benefit from episodic inputs of nutrients to coral reefs. PMID:27353576

  1. Discerning the timing and cause of historical mortality events in modern Porites from the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Tara R.; Zhao, Jian-xin; Roff, George; Feng, Yue-xing; Done, Terence J.; Nothdurft, Luke D.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2014-08-01

    The life history strategies of massive Porites corals make them a valuable resource not only as key providers of reef structure, but also as recorders of past environmental change. Yet recent documented evidence of an unprecedented increase in the frequency of mortality in Porites warrants investigation into the history of mortality and associated drivers. To achieve this, both an accurate chronology and an understanding of the life history strategies of Porites are necessary. Sixty-two individual Uranium-Thorium (U-Th) dates from 50 dead massive Porites colonies from the central inshore region of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) revealed the timing of mortality to have occurred predominantly over two main periods from 1989.2 ± 4.1 to 2001.4 ± 4.1, and from 2006.4 ± 1.8 to 2008.4 ± 2.2 A.D., with a small number of colonies dating earlier. Overall, the peak ages of mortality are significantly correlated with maximum sea-surface temperature anomalies. Despite potential sampling bias, the frequency of mortality increased dramatically post-1980. These observations are similar to the results reported for the Southern South China Sea. High resolution measurements of Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca obtained from a well preserved sample that died in 1994.6 ± 2.3 revealed that the time of death occurred at the peak of sea surface temperatures (SST) during the austral summer. In contrast, Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca analysis in two colonies dated to 2006.9 ± 3.0 and 2008.3 ± 2.0, suggest that both died after the austral winter. An increase in Sr/Ca ratios and the presence of low Mg-calcite cements (as determined by SEM and elemental ratio analysis) in one of the colonies was attributed to stressful conditions that may have persisted for some time prior to mortality. For both colonies, however, the timing of mortality coincides with the 4th and 6th largest flood events reported for the Burdekin River in the past 60 years, implying that factors associated with terrestrial runoff may have been

  2. Cyphastrea kausti sp. n. (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Scleractinia), a new species of reef coral from the Red Sea

    PubMed Central

    Bouwmeester, Jessica; Benzoni, Francesca; Baird, Andrew H.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A new scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea kausti sp. n., is described from 13 specimens from the Red Sea. It is characterised by the presence of eight primary septa, unlike the other species of the genus, which have six, ten or 12 primary septa. The new species has morphological affinities with Cyphastrea microphthalma, from which it can be distinguished by the lower number of septa (on average eight instead of ten), and smaller calices and corallites. This species was observed in the northern and central Red Sea and appears to be absent from the southern Red Sea. PMID:25931952

  3. Coral bleaching at Little Cayman, Cayman Islands 2009

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hooidonk, Ruben J.; Manzello, Derek P.; Moye, Jessica; Brandt, Marilyn E.; Hendee, James C.; McCoy, Croy; Manfrino, Carrie

    2012-06-01

    The global rise in sea temperature through anthropogenic climate change is affecting coral reef ecosystems through a phenomenon known as coral bleaching; that is, the whitening of corals due to the loss of the symbiotic zooxanthellae which impart corals with their characteristic vivid coloration. We describe aspects of the most prevalent episode of coral bleaching ever recorded at Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, during the fall of 2009. The most susceptible corals were found to be, in order, Siderastrea siderea, Montastraea annularis, and Montastraea faveolata, while Diplora strigosa and Agaricia spp. were less so, yet still showed considerable bleaching prevalence and severity. Those found to be least susceptible were Porites porites, Porites astreoides, and Montastraea cavernosa. These observations and other reported observations of coral bleaching, together with 29 years (1982-2010) of satellite-derived sea surface temperatures, were used to optimize bleaching predictions at this location. To do this a Degree Heating Weeks (DHW) and Peirce Skill Score (PSS) analysis was employed to calculate a local bleaching threshold above which bleaching was expected to occur. A threshold of 4.2 DHW had the highest skill, with a PSS of 0.70. The method outlined here could be applied to other regions to find the optimal bleaching threshold and improve bleaching predictions.

  4. Abundance, composition and growth rate of coral recruits on dead corals following the 2010 bleaching event at Mu Ko Surin, the Andaman Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yucharoen, Mathinee; Yeemin, Thamasak; Casareto, Beatriz E.; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Samsuvan, Watchara; Sangmanee, Kanwara; Klinthong, Wanlaya; Pengsakun, Sittiporn; Sutthacheep, Makamas

    2015-06-01

    Elevated seawater temperatures in the summer months of 2010 were associated with widespread coral mortality in Thailand. A large number of corals at Mu Ko Surin died following the bleaching event. Understanding of the recruitment of corals would improve our ability to predict the potential for coral recovery from the impacts of bleaching events, as well as the interpretation of spatio-temporal variability in coral community structure. This study aims to examine the composition, abundance and growth rate of juvenile corals and the potential of reef recovery at Mu Ko Surin in order to help to understand how reefs react to major disturbances. We found that the densities of coral recruits varied among years and study sites. In the year 2011, coral recruitments ranged between 0.18 ± 0.02 to 1.67 ± 0.07 recruits per m2 for 10 study sites. While in 2012, the monitoring revealed a range between 0.96 ± 0.16 and 2.19 ± 0.21 recruits per m2 from 5 study sites. Fungia, Acropora, Porites and Favites were the dominant groups of coral recruits. In terms substrate forms, they were significant differences between sampling years but the preferential dominant substrate forms did not differ. The Acropora recruits at Ko Torinla showed normal distributions of size class during the two periods. Their ranges in 2011 and 2012 were 4-30 and 13-54 mm, respectively. Six species of Acropora recruits, i.e. Acropora intermedia, A. nasuta, A. cerealis, A. subulata, A. muricata and A. latistella were found. They showed diverse growth rates due to the spatial distribution of 2.11 ± 0.59 to 7.47 ± 1.37 cm per year. This study provides useful data in terms of coral recruitment and recovery from degradation and disturbance, especially from temperature changes induced by coral bleaching. The findings suggest that there is the possibility for coral recovery around Mu Ko Surin following the 2010 bleaching event.

  5. Field Calibration of the δ11B-pH Proxy in Corals and Calcified Algae at a Shallow Hydrothermal Vent and Adjacent Coral Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Day, R. D.; Christopher, S. J.; Young, C.; Brainard, R. E.; Butterfield, D. A.; Stewart, J.

    2015-12-01

    There is increasing interest in using the boron isotopic composition (δ11B) of biogenic carbonates as a proxy for seawater pH to better understand recent ocean acidification. The utility of this proxy hinges on the production of robust species-specific δ11B-pH calibrations; yet, challenges remain in the interpretation of boron isotope data due to biases introduced by physiological, environmental, and analytical factors. The shallow hydrothermal vents in the Maug Islands caldera (Marianas Islands) and the adjacent coral reefs exhibit a localized gradient > 1 pH unit. This gradient was used as a natural laboratory to assess the efficacy of using skeletal δ11B in a variety of corals (Porites spp., Pocillipora spp., Acropora spp.) and calcified algae (Halimeda spp. and Corallinales) as biosensors of seawater pH. Three sites were selected representing oceanic background, intermediate, and low pH zones, and direct seawater pH measurements were recorded for 3 months using SeaFETs. Corals and algae growing naturally in situ were collected from these 3 sites. In addition, corals and algae collected from a background location were stained and transplanted to these sites and allowed to grow for 3 months. Measurements of δ11B in skeletal material made by multi-collector inductively coupled mass spectrometry are compared to direct seawater pH measurements to assess the sensitivity and robustness of the δ11B proxy in these candidate biosensors in predicting ambient pH in the field. These data will inform ongoing efforts by the Archive of Coral Ecosystem Specimens (ACES) to collect marine carbonates for analysis and archival in the Marine Environmental Specimen Bank for broad-scale, long-term monitoring of ocean acidification and the associated impacts to coral reefs. Concurrent analyses of other trace elements, heavy metals, and isotopes in these samples will also be performed to assess their utility as biosensors for additional water chemistry parameters on coral reefs.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

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

  10. Ten years of change to coral communities off Mona and Desecheo Islands, Puerto Rico, from disease and bleaching.

    PubMed

    Bruckner, Andrew W; Hill, Ronald L

    2009-11-16

    Remote reefs off southwest Puerto Rico have experienced recent losses in live coral cover of 30 to 80%, primarily due to the decline of Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata from disease and bleaching. These species were formerly the largest, oldest, and most abundant corals on these reefs, constituting over 65% of the living coral cover and 40 to 80% of the total number of colonies. From 1998 to 2001, outbreaks of yellow band disease (YBD) and white plague (WP) affected 30 to 60% of the M. annularis (complex) colonies. Disease prevalence declined beginning in 2002, and then increased immediately following the 2005 mass bleaching event. Colonies of M. annularis (complex) have been reduced in abundance by 24 to 32%, and remaining colonies are missing more than half their tissue. Both M. annularis and M. faveolata have failed to recruit, resheeting has been minimal, and exposed skeletal surfaces are being colonized by macroalgae, bioeroding sponges, and hydrozoans. Other scleractinian corals were smaller in size (mean = 28 cm diameter) and exhibited lower levels of partial mortality; these taxa were affected to a lesser extent by coral diseases and bleaching-associated tissue loss over the last decade. The numbers of small colonies (1 to 9 cm) of these species identified since 2005 also exceeded numbers of larger colonies that died. These reefs appear to be exhibiting shifts in species assemblages, with replacement of M. annularis (complex) by shorter-lived brooding species and other massive and plating corals (Agaricia, Porites, Meandrina, Eusmilia, Diploria, and Siderastrea spp.). To avoid a catastrophic and permanent loss of the dominant, slow-growing reef-building corals, the causes and effects of diseases need to be better understood, and possible control mechanisms must be developed. In particular, steps must be taken to mitigate environmental and anthropogenic stressors that increase the spread and severity of disease.

  11. Chromium-isotope signatures in scleractinian corals from the Rocas Atoll, Tropical South Atlantic.

    PubMed

    Pereira, N S; Voegelin, A R; Paulukat, C; Sial, A N; Ferreira, V P; Frei, R

    2016-01-01

    Chromium-isotope compositions (expressed as δ(53) Cr) of recent and ancient skeletal and non-skeletal carbonates are currently explored as a (paleo-) redox-proxy for shallow seawater. The idea behind this approach is that biogenic and non-biogenic carbonates could potentially be used as archives recording the Cr-isotope composition of seawater in which they formed, and with this contribute to the reconstruction of past paleo-environmental changes in the marine realm, and potentially to climate changes on land. However, investigations addressing the behavior and uptake mechanism of Cr, and the potential isotope fractionations between seawater and biogenic carbonates are scarce. Here, we present a study of Cr-isotope variations in three species of corals and contemporary seawater from the Rocas Atoll, NE, Brazil. Cr-isotope values of the studied coral species (Siderastrea stellata, Porites sp., and Montastrea cavernosa) vary from -0.5 to +0.33‰ and point to significant isotopic disequilibrium with coexisting seawater characterized by a Cr-isotope value of +0.92 ± 0.2‰. This isotopic offset requires reduction of hexavalent Cr(VI) in the sequestration process of all the studied coral species. Cr-isotope values in a profile across an S. stellata colony returned homogeneous, slightly positively fractioned δ(53) Cr values of +0.07 ± 0.08‰ (n = 8, 2σ), which we interpret to reflect a constant reductive uptake during the 20-year growth period recorded in this coral. In contrast, samples across a 12-year growth profile from Porites sp. display rather heterogeneous Cr-isotope values with δ(53) Cr varying from -0.50 to +0.10‰, indicating Cr incorporation under changing redox processes during its growth intervals. We propose a mechanism whereby initial photoreduction of isotopically heavy Cr(VI) to isotopically lighter Cr(III) in the endodermal layer of corals must be followed by efficient and effective re-oxidation of reduced Cr species to favor subsequent

  12. SIMULATED SOLAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION EFFECTS ON 5 SPECIES OF SCLERACTINIAN CORALS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The impact of global climate change factors such as increased temperature and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on coral bleaching are of continued interest to the USEPA. Coral bleaching occurs when symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their pigments are depleted in response to stressors suc...

  13. Episodic eruptions of volcanic ash trigger a reversible cascade of nuisance species outbreaks in pristine coral habitats.

    PubMed

    Schils, Tom

    2012-01-01

    Volcanically active islands abound in the tropical Pacific and harbor complex coral communities. Whereas lava streams and deep ash deposits are well-known to devastate coral communities through burial and smothering, little is known about the effect of moderate amounts of small particulate ash deposits on reef communities. Volcanic ash contains a diversity of chemical compounds that can induce nutrient enrichments triggering changes in benthic composition. Two independently collected data sets on the marine benthos of the pristine and remote reefs around Pagan Island, Northern Mariana Islands, reveal a sudden critical transition to cyanobacteria-dominated communities in 2009-2010, which coincides with a period of continuous volcanic ash eruptions. Concurrently, localized outbreaks of the coral-killing cyanobacteriosponge Terpios hoshinota displayed a remarkable symbiosis with filamentous cyanobacteria, which supported the rapid overgrowth of massive coral colonies and allowed the sponge to colonize substrate types from which it has not been documented before. The chemical composition of tephra from Pagan indicates that the outbreak of nuisance species on its reefs might represent an early succession stage of iron enrichment (a.k.a. "black reefs") similar to that caused by anthropogenic debris like ship wrecks or natural events like particulate deposition from wildfire smoke plumes or desert dust storms. Once Pagan's volcanic activity ceased in 2011, the cyanobacterial bloom disappeared. Another group of well-known nuisance algae in the tropical Pacific, the pelagophytes, did not reach bloom densities during this period of ash eruptions but new species records for the Northern Mariana Islands were documented. These field observations indicate that the study of population dynamics of pristine coral communities can advance our understanding of the resilience of tropical reef systems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. PMID:23056381

  14. Main lipid classes in some species of deep-sea corals in the Newfoundland and Labrador region (Northwest Atlantic Ocean)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamoutene, D.; Puestow, T.; Miller-Banoub, J.; Wareham, V.

    2008-03-01

    Corals contain large quantities of lipids in their tissues; these lipids may be either structural or for storage. Little information is available about the lipid content of deep-sea corals, as well as ratios of main lipid classes. In this study, lipid percentages of 81 deep-sea specimens were measured and the presence of six major classes, including sterols (STEROLS), free fatty acids (FFA), triacylglycerols (TG), monoalkyldiacyl glycerol (MADAG), wax (WAX), and sterol esters (SE), was assessed. Deep-sea corals had fewer lipids than their shallow water counterparts. Decision-tree analysis revealed a link between coral groups and total lipid percentages, showing that species within the same group were characterized by similar lipid amounts. Depth did not seem to impact the total lipid percentages, suggesting that deep-sea corals adapt to the differential access to food by changing the proportion of lipid classes while maintaining equivalent lipid levels. In deep-sea species, similar to their shallow water counterparts, energy seems to be stored as neutral lipids (wax esters and triacylglycerols), with the notable difference that a high proportion of MADAG is present. These compounds are less rich in energy than TG. Depth trends were found for FFA, TG and SE with an increase in percentages after 800 m suggesting a potential need for storage due to decreased food availability. A subsequent decrease after 1,100 m was observed for FFA and TG but a more detailed investigation is warranted as the number of specimens acquired from these depths was less than 20. It is nonetheless a surprising result as increased storage is expected when food sources are sparse.

  15. Episodic Eruptions of Volcanic Ash Trigger a Reversible Cascade of Nuisance Species Outbreaks in Pristine Coral Habitats

    PubMed Central

    Schils, Tom

    2012-01-01

    Volcanically active islands abound in the tropical Pacific and harbor complex coral communities. Whereas lava streams and deep ash deposits are well-known to devastate coral communities through burial and smothering, little is known about the effect of moderate amounts of small particulate ash deposits on reef communities. Volcanic ash contains a diversity of chemical compounds that can induce nutrient enrichments triggering changes in benthic composition. Two independently collected data sets on the marine benthos of the pristine and remote reefs around Pagan Island, Northern Mariana Islands, reveal a sudden critical transition to cyanobacteria-dominated communities in 2009–2010, which coincides with a period of continuous volcanic ash eruptions. Concurrently, localized outbreaks of the coral-killing cyanobacteriosponge Terpios hoshinota displayed a remarkable symbiosis with filamentous cyanobacteria, which supported the rapid overgrowth of massive coral colonies and allowed the sponge to colonize substrate types from which it has not been documented before. The chemical composition of tephra from Pagan indicates that the outbreak of nuisance species on its reefs might represent an early succession stage of iron enrichment (a.k.a. “black reefs”) similar to that caused by anthropogenic debris like ship wrecks or natural events like particulate deposition from wildfire smoke plumes or desert dust storms. Once Pagan's volcanic activity ceased in 2011, the cyanobacterial bloom disappeared. Another group of well-known nuisance algae in the tropical Pacific, the pelagophytes, did not reach bloom densities during this period of ash eruptions but new species records for the Northern Mariana Islands were documented. These field observations indicate that the study of population dynamics of pristine coral communities can advance our understanding of the resilience of tropical reef systems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. PMID:23056381

  16. Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Atlantic representatives of the invasive Pacific coral species Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis (Scleractinia, Dendrophylliidae): Implications for species identification.

    PubMed

    Capel, K C C; Migotto, A E; Zilberberg, C; Lin, M F; Forsman, Z; Miller, D J; Kitahara, M V

    2016-09-30

    Members of the azooxanthellate coral genus Tubastraea are invasive species with particular concern because they have become established and are fierce competitors in the invaded areas in many parts of the world. Pacific Tubastraea species are spreading fast throughout the Atlantic Ocean, occupying over 95% of the available substrate in some areas and out-competing native endemic species. Approximately half of all known coral species are azooxanthellate but these are seriously under-represented compared to zooxanthellate corals in terms of the availability of mitochondrial (mt) genome data. In the present study, the complete mt DNA sequences of Atlantic individuals of the invasive scleractinian species Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis were determined and compared to the GenBank reference sequence available for a Pacific "T. coccinea" individual. At 19,094bp (compared to 19,070bp for the GenBank specimen), the mt genomes assembled for the Atlantic T. coccinea and T. tagusensis were among the longest sequence determined to date for "Complex" scleractinians. Comparisons of genomes data showed that the "T. coccinea" sequence deposited on GenBank was more closely related to that from Dendrophyllia arbuscula than to the Atlantic Tubastraea spp., in terms of genome length and base pair similarities. This was confirmed by phylogenetic analysis, suggesting that the former was misidentified and might actually be a member from the genus Dendrophyllia. In addition, although in general the COX1 locus has a slow evolutionary rate in Scleractinia, it was the most variable region of the Tubastraea mt genome and can be used as markers for genus or species identification. Given the limited data available for azooxanthellate corals, the results presented here represent an important contribution to our understanding of phylogenetic relationships and the evolutionary history of the Scleractinia.

  17. Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Atlantic representatives of the invasive Pacific coral species Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis (Scleractinia, Dendrophylliidae): Implications for species identification.

    PubMed

    Capel, K C C; Migotto, A E; Zilberberg, C; Lin, M F; Forsman, Z; Miller, D J; Kitahara, M V

    2016-09-30

    Members of the azooxanthellate coral genus Tubastraea are invasive species with particular concern because they have become established and are fierce competitors in the invaded areas in many parts of the world. Pacific Tubastraea species are spreading fast throughout the Atlantic Ocean, occupying over 95% of the available substrate in some areas and out-competing native endemic species. Approximately half of all known coral species are azooxanthellate but these are seriously under-represented compared to zooxanthellate corals in terms of the availability of mitochondrial (mt) genome data. In the present study, the complete mt DNA sequences of Atlantic individuals of the invasive scleractinian species Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis were determined and compared to the GenBank reference sequence available for a Pacific "T. coccinea" individual. At 19,094bp (compared to 19,070bp for the GenBank specimen), the mt genomes assembled for the Atlantic T. coccinea and T. tagusensis were among the longest sequence determined to date for "Complex" scleractinians. Comparisons of genomes data showed that the "T. coccinea" sequence deposited on GenBank was more closely related to that from Dendrophyllia arbuscula than to the Atlantic Tubastraea spp., in terms of genome length and base pair similarities. This was confirmed by phylogenetic analysis, suggesting that the former was misidentified and might actually be a member from the genus Dendrophyllia. In addition, although in general the COX1 locus has a slow evolutionary rate in Scleractinia, it was the most variable region of the Tubastraea mt genome and can be used as markers for genus or species identification. Given the limited data available for azooxanthellate corals, the results presented here represent an important contribution to our understanding of phylogenetic relationships and the evolutionary history of the Scleractinia. PMID:27234370

  18. Species-specific interactions between algal endosymbionts and coral hosts define their bleaching response to heat and light stress.

    PubMed

    Abrego, David; Ulstrup, Karin E; Willis, Bette L; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2008-10-01

    The impacts of warming seas on the frequency and severity of bleaching events are well documented, but the potential for different Symbiodinium types to enhance the physiological tolerance of reef corals is not well understood. Here we compare the functionality and physiological properties of juvenile corals when experimentally infected with one of two homologous Symbiodinium types and exposed to combined heat and light stress. A suite of physiological indicators including chlorophyll a fluorescence, oxygen production and respiration, as well as pigment concentration consistently demonstrated lower metabolic costs and enhanced physiological tolerance of Acropora tenuis juveniles when hosting Symbiodinium type C1 compared with type D. In other studies, the same D-type has been shown to confer higher thermal tolerance than both C2 in adults and C1 in juveniles of the closely related species Acropora millepora. Our results challenge speculations that associations with type D are universally most robust to thermal stress. Although the heat tolerance of corals may be contingent on the Symbiodinium strain in hospite, our results highlight the complexity of interactions between symbiotic partners and a potential role for host factors in determining the physiological performance of reef corals.

  19. Internal pH regulation facilitates in situ long-term acclimation of massive corals to end-of-century carbon dioxide conditions

    PubMed Central

    Wall, M.; Fietzke, J.; Schmidt, G. M.; Fink, A; Hofmann, L. C.; de Beer, D.; Fabricius, K. E.

    2016-01-01

    The resilience of tropical corals to ocean acidification depends on their ability to regulate the pH within their calcifying fluid (pHcf). Recent work suggests pHcf homeostasis under short-term exposure to pCO2 conditions predicted for 2100, but it is still unclear if pHcf homeostasis can be maintained throughout a corals lifetime. At CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea, massive Porites corals have grown along a natural seawater pH gradient for decades. This natural gradient, ranging from pH 8.1–7.4, provides an ideal platform to determine corals’ pHcf (using boron isotopes). Porites maintained a similar pHcf (~8.24) at both a control (pH 8.1) and seep-influenced site (pH 7.9). Internal pHcf was slightly reduced (8.12) at seawater pH 7.6, and decreased to 7.94 at a site with a seawater pH of 7.4. A growth response model based on pHcf mirrors the observed distribution patterns of this species in the field. We suggest Porites has the capacity to acclimate after long-time exposure to end-of-century reduced seawater pH conditions and that strong control over pHcf represents a key mechanism to persist in future oceans. Only beyond end-of-century pCO2 conditions do they face their current physiological limit of pH homeostasis and pHcf begins to decrease. PMID:27477963

  20. External carbonic anhydrase in three Caribbean corals: quantification of activity and role in CO2 uptake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tansik, Anna L.; Fitt, William K.; Hopkinson, Brian M.

    2015-09-01

    Scleractinian corals have complicated inorganic carbon ( C i) transport pathways to support both photosynthesis, by their symbiotic dinoflagellates, and calcification. The first step in C i acquisition, uptake into the coral, is critical as the diffusive boundary layer limits the supply of CO2 to the surface and HCO3 - uptake is energy intensive. An external carbonic anhydrase (eCA) on the oral surface of corals is thought to facilitate CO2 uptake by converting HCO3 - into CO2, helping to overcome the limitation imposed by the boundary layer. However, this enzyme has not yet been identified or detected in corals, nor has its activity been quantified. We have developed a method to quantify eCA activity using a reaction-diffusion model to analyze data on 18O removal from labeled C i. Applying this technique to three species of Caribbean corals ( Orbicella faveolata, Porites astreoides, and Siderastrea radians) showed that all species have eCA and that the potential rates of CO2 generation by eCA greatly exceed photosynthetic rates. This demonstrates that eCA activity is sufficient to support its hypothesized role in CO2 supply. Inhibition of eCA severely reduces net photosynthesis in all species (on average by 46 ± 27 %), implying that CO2 generated by eCA is a major carbon source for photosynthesis. Because of the high permeability of membranes to CO2, CO2 uptake is likely driven by a concentration gradient across the cytoplasmic membrane. The ubiquity of eCA in corals from diverse genera and environments suggests that it is fundamental for photosynthetic CO2 supply.

  1. Wet Season Upwelling and Dry Season Chlorophyll-a Describe Interannual Growth Rates of Porites in Southern China

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Teng Teng; Goodkin, Nathalie Fairbank

    2014-01-01

    Southern China hosts coral communities in marginal environments that are characterized by low linear extension rates, low coral cover and/or no reef formation, thus providing natural laboratories to study coral communities with below average growth rates. Here we compare the annual linear extension rates over 10 years (range 1.2 to 11.4 mm yr−1) of six Porites sp. coral cores collected from Hong Kong with monthly hydrographic data from the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department. At all sites, low-density, dry season extension were more variable than high-density, wet season extension and on average, was lower at two of the three sites. We applied multi-variate linear regressions that revealed high-density, wet season band extension to inversely correlate most significantly to temperature (r = −0.39, p<0.01). In contrast, low-density, dry season band extension was more variable and correlated most significantly with dry season chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) (r = 0.64, p<0.001). Additionally, we find that corals at the site with highest dry season Chl-a have the highest dry season extension lengths. Our findings indicate that relative mixing of fresh and salt water in the wet season and primary productivity in the dry season, and their influences on aragonite saturation, are likely to impact interannual coral extension variability in marginal environments. PMID:24901939

  2. Predictive modeling of coral disease distribution within a reef system.

    PubMed

    Williams, Gareth J; Aeby, Greta S; Cowie, Rebecca O M; Davy, Simon K

    2010-01-01

    Diseases often display complex and distinct associations with their environment due to differences in etiology, modes of transmission between hosts, and the shifting balance between pathogen virulence and host resistance. Statistical modeling has been underutilized in coral disease research to explore the spatial patterns that result from this triad of interactions. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) coral diseases show distinct associations with multiple environmental factors, 2) incorporating interactions (synergistic collinearities) among environmental variables is important when predicting coral disease spatial patterns, and 3) modeling overall coral disease prevalence (the prevalence of multiple diseases as a single proportion value) will increase predictive error relative to modeling the same diseases independently. Four coral diseases: Porites growth anomalies (PorGA), Porites tissue loss (PorTL), Porites trematodiasis (PorTrem), and Montipora white syndrome (MWS), and their interactions with 17 predictor variables were modeled using boosted regression trees (BRT) within a reef system in Hawaii. Each disease showed distinct associations with the predictors. Environmental predictors showing the strongest overall associations with the coral diseases were both biotic and abiotic. PorGA was optimally predicted by a negative association with turbidity, PorTL and MWS by declines in butterflyfish and juvenile parrotfish abundance respectively, and PorTrem by a modal relationship with Porites host cover. Incorporating interactions among predictor variables contributed to the predictive power of our models, particularly for PorTrem. Combining diseases (using overall disease prevalence as the model response), led to an average six-fold increase in cross-validation predictive deviance over modeling the diseases individually. We therefore recommend coral diseases to be modeled separately, unless known to have etiologies that respond in a similar manner to particular

  3. Predictive Modeling of Coral Disease Distribution within a Reef System

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Gareth J.; Aeby, Greta S.; Cowie, Rebecca O. M.; Davy, Simon K.

    2010-01-01

    Diseases often display complex and distinct associations with their environment due to differences in etiology, modes of transmission between hosts, and the shifting balance between pathogen virulence and host resistance. Statistical modeling has been underutilized in coral disease research to explore the spatial patterns that result from this triad of interactions. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) coral diseases show distinct associations with multiple environmental factors, 2) incorporating interactions (synergistic collinearities) among environmental variables is important when predicting coral disease spatial patterns, and 3) modeling overall coral disease prevalence (the prevalence of multiple diseases as a single proportion value) will increase predictive error relative to modeling the same diseases independently. Four coral diseases: Porites growth anomalies (PorGA), Porites tissue loss (PorTL), Porites trematodiasis (PorTrem), and Montipora white syndrome (MWS), and their interactions with 17 predictor variables were modeled using boosted regression trees (BRT) within a reef system in Hawaii. Each disease showed distinct associations with the predictors. Environmental predictors showing the strongest overall associations with the coral diseases were both biotic and abiotic. PorGA was optimally predicted by a negative association with turbidity, PorTL and MWS by declines in butterflyfish and juvenile parrotfish abundance respectively, and PorTrem by a modal relationship with Porites host cover. Incorporating interactions among predictor variables contributed to the predictive power of our models, particularly for PorTrem. Combining diseases (using overall disease prevalence as the model response), led to an average six-fold increase in cross-validation predictive deviance over modeling the diseases individually. We therefore recommend coral diseases to be modeled separately, unless known to have etiologies that respond in a similar manner to particular

  4. Reef flattening effects on total richness and species responses in the Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Newman, Steven P; Meesters, Erik H; Dryden, Charlie S; Williams, Stacey M; Sanchez, Cristina; Mumby, Peter J; Polunin, Nicholas V C

    2015-11-01

    There has been ongoing flattening of Caribbean coral reefs with the loss of habitat having severe implications for these systems. Complexity and its structural components are important to fish species richness and community composition, but little is known about its role for other taxa or species-specific responses. This study reveals the importance of reef habitat complexity and structural components to different taxa of macrofauna, total species richness, and individual coral and fish species in the Caribbean. Species presence and richness of different taxa were visually quantified in one hundred 25-m(2) plots in three marine reserves in the Caribbean. Sampling was evenly distributed across five levels of visually estimated reef complexity, with five structural components also recorded: the number of corals, number of large corals, slope angle, maximum sponge and maximum octocoral height. Taking advantage of natural heterogeneity in structural complexity within a particular coral reef habitat (Orbicella reefs) and discrete environmental envelope, thus minimizing other sources of variability, the relative importance of reef complexity and structural components was quantified for different taxa and individual fish and coral species on Caribbean coral reefs using boosted regression trees (BRTs). Boosted regression tree models performed very well when explaining variability in total (82·3%), coral (80·6%) and fish species richness (77·3%), for which the greatest declines in richness occurred below intermediate reef complexity levels. Complexity accounted for very little of the variability in octocorals, sponges, arthropods, annelids or anemones. BRTs revealed species-specific variability and importance for reef complexity and structural components. Coral and fish species occupancy generally declined at low complexity levels, with the exception of two coral species (Pseudodiploria strigosa and Porites divaricata) and four fish species (Halichoeres bivittatus, H

  5. Reef flattening effects on total richness and species responses in the Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Newman, Steven P; Meesters, Erik H; Dryden, Charlie S; Williams, Stacey M; Sanchez, Cristina; Mumby, Peter J; Polunin, Nicholas V C

    2015-11-01

    There has been ongoing flattening of Caribbean coral reefs with the loss of habitat having severe implications for these systems. Complexity and its structural components are important to fish species richness and community composition, but little is known about its role for other taxa or species-specific responses. This study reveals the importance of reef habitat complexity and structural components to different taxa of macrofauna, total species richness, and individual coral and fish species in the Caribbean. Species presence and richness of different taxa were visually quantified in one hundred 25-m(2) plots in three marine reserves in the Caribbean. Sampling was evenly distributed across five levels of visually estimated reef complexity, with five structural components also recorded: the number of corals, number of large corals, slope angle, maximum sponge and maximum octocoral height. Taking advantage of natural heterogeneity in structural complexity within a particular coral reef habitat (Orbicella reefs) and discrete environmental envelope, thus minimizing other sources of variability, the relative importance of reef complexity and structural components was quantified for different taxa and individual fish and coral species on Caribbean coral reefs using boosted regression trees (BRTs). Boosted regression tree models performed very well when explaining variability in total (82·3%), coral (80·6%) and fish species richness (77·3%), for which the greatest declines in richness occurred below intermediate reef complexity levels. Complexity accounted for very little of the variability in octocorals, sponges, arthropods, annelids or anemones. BRTs revealed species-specific variability and importance for reef complexity and structural components. Coral and fish species occupancy generally declined at low complexity levels, with the exception of two coral species (Pseudodiploria strigosa and Porites divaricata) and four fish species (Halichoeres bivittatus, H

  6. Development of immunoassays for determination of circulating venom antigens during envenomations by coral snakes (Micrurus species).

    PubMed

    Amuy, E; Alape-Girón, A; Lomonte, B; Thelestam, M; Gutiérrez, J M

    1997-11-01

    A reverse agglutination assay and two capture enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISAs) for the quantitative determination of Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus venom antigens in fluids were developed using affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies and a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies. The lower detection limit was 0.3 mg/ml for the reverse agglutination assay and 4 ng/ml for the capture ELISAs. The optical densities of both ELISAs correlated very well with venom concentrations in the range 4-333 ng/ml (r = 0.99). The ability of these assays to detect venoms of several medically important Micrurus species was studied. Besides detecting homologous venom, both ELISAs were also useful to quantitate venom from M. fulvius, M. dumerilii carinicauda and M. alleni. Using biotinylated polyclonal antibodies, M. n. nigrocinctus venom antigens were detected in sera or plasma from rabbits and mice during experimental envenomations with lethal and sublethal venom doses. The assays described in this work are promising tests to estimate the severity of poisoning in envenomations by the most important coral snakes of North and Central America.

  7. Assessing Gear Modifications Needed to Optimize Yields in a Heavily Exploited, Multi-Species, Seagrass and Coral Reef Fishery

    PubMed Central

    Hicks, Christina C.; McClanahan, Timothy R.

    2012-01-01

    Effective management is necessary if small-scale fisheries, such as those found in mixed habitats including seagrass and coral reefs, are to continue providing food for many of the poorest communities of the world. Gear-based management, although under represented and under studied, has the potential to be adaptive, address multiple objectives, and be crafted to the socio-economic setting. Management effectiveness in seagrass and coral reef fisheries has generally been evaluated at the scale of the fish community. However, community level indicators can mask species-specific declines that provide significant portions of the fisheries yields and income. Using a unique dataset, containing ten years of species level length frequency catch data from a multi-gear, multi-species seagrass and coral reef fishery in Kenya, we evaluate species specific fishery statuses, compare gear use to gear regulations and estimate the potential needs for further gear restrictions. Despite the high diversity of the fishery, fifteen species represented over 90% of the catch, and only three species represented 60% of the catch. The three most abundant species in the catch, Lethrinus lentjan (Lacepède), Siganus sutor (Valenciennes) and Leptoscarus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard) all showed evidence of growth overfishing. Lethrinus lentjan, with an exploitation rate of 0.82, also shows evidence of recruitment overfishing. Current legal but weakly enforced gear restrictions are capable of protecting a significant portion of the catch up to maturity but optimization of yield will require that the current mesh size be increased from 6.3 to 8.8 and 9.2 cm to increase yields of L. lentjan and S. sutor, respectively. Given the difficulties of enforcing mesh size, we recommend that the economic benefits of these larger mesh sizes be communicated and enforced through co-management. This abstract is also available in Kiswahili (Abstract S1). PMID:22574133

  8. Assessing gear modifications needed to optimize yields in a heavily exploited, multi-species, seagrass and coral reef fishery.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Christina C; McClanahan, Timothy R

    2012-01-01

    Effective management is necessary if small-scale fisheries, such as those found in mixed habitats including seagrass and coral reefs, are to continue providing food for many of the poorest communities of the world. Gear-based management, although under represented and under studied, has the potential to be adaptive, address multiple objectives, and be crafted to the socio-economic setting. Management effectiveness in seagrass and coral reef fisheries has generally been evaluated at the scale of the fish community. However, community level indicators can mask species-specific declines that provide significant portions of the fisheries yields and income. Using a unique dataset, containing ten years of species level length frequency catch data from a multi-gear, multi-species seagrass and coral reef fishery in Kenya, we evaluate species specific fishery statuses, compare gear use to gear regulations and estimate the potential needs for further gear restrictions. Despite the high diversity of the fishery, fifteen species represented over 90% of the catch, and only three species represented 60% of the catch. The three most abundant species in the catch, Lethrinus lentjan (Lacepède), Siganus sutor (Valenciennes) and Leptoscarus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard) all showed evidence of growth overfishing. Lethrinus lentjan, with an exploitation rate of 0.82, also shows evidence of recruitment overfishing. Current legal but weakly enforced gear restrictions are capable of protecting a significant portion of the catch up to maturity but optimization of yield will require that the current mesh size be increased from 6.3 to 8.8 and 9.2 cm to increase yields of L. lentjan and S. sutor, respectively. Given the difficulties of enforcing mesh size, we recommend that the economic benefits of these larger mesh sizes be communicated and enforced through co-management. This abstract is also available in Kiswahili (Abstract S1).

  9. Assessing gear modifications needed to optimize yields in a heavily exploited, multi-species, seagrass and coral reef fishery.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Christina C; McClanahan, Timothy R

    2012-01-01

    Effective management is necessary if small-scale fisheries, such as those found in mixed habitats including seagrass and coral reefs, are to continue providing food for many of the poorest communities of the world. Gear-based management, although under represented and under studied, has the potential to be adaptive, address multiple objectives, and be crafted to the socio-economic setting. Management effectiveness in seagrass and coral reef fisheries has generally been evaluated at the scale of the fish community. However, community level indicators can mask species-specific declines that provide significant portions of the fisheries yields and income. Using a unique dataset, containing ten years of species level length frequency catch data from a multi-gear, multi-species seagrass and coral reef fishery in Kenya, we evaluate species specific fishery statuses, compare gear use to gear regulations and estimate the potential needs for further gear restrictions. Despite the high diversity of the fishery, fifteen species represented over 90% of the catch, and only three species represented 60% of the catch. The three most abundant species in the catch, Lethrinus lentjan (Lacepède), Siganus sutor (Valenciennes) and Leptoscarus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard) all showed evidence of growth overfishing. Lethrinus lentjan, with an exploitation rate of 0.82, also shows evidence of recruitment overfishing. Current legal but weakly enforced gear restrictions are capable of protecting a significant portion of the catch up to maturity but optimization of yield will require that the current mesh size be increased from 6.3 to 8.8 and 9.2 cm to increase yields of L. lentjan and S. sutor, respectively. Given the difficulties of enforcing mesh size, we recommend that the economic benefits of these larger mesh sizes be communicated and enforced through co-management. This abstract is also available in Kiswahili (Abstract S1). PMID:22574133

  10. Differential localization of ion transporters suggests distinct cellular mechanisms for calcification and photosynthesis between two coral species.

    PubMed

    Barott, Katie L; Perez, Sidney O; Linsmayer, Lauren B; Tresguerres, Martin

    2015-08-01

    Ion transport is fundamental for multiple physiological processes, including but not limited to pH regulation, calcification, and photosynthesis. Here, we investigated ion-transporting processes in tissues from the corals Acropora yongei and Stylophora pistillata, representatives of the complex and robust clades that diverged over 250 million years ago. Antibodies against complex IV revealed that mitochondria, an essential source of ATP for energetically costly ion transporters, were abundant throughout the tissues of A. yongei. Additionally, transmission electron microscopy revealed septate junctions in all cell layers of A. yongei, as previously reported for S. pistillata, as well as evidence for transcellular vesicular transport in calicoblastic cells. Antibodies against the alpha subunit of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (NKA) and plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase (PMCA) immunolabeled cells in the calicoblastic epithelium of both species, suggesting conserved roles in calcification. However, NKA was abundant in the apical membrane of the oral epithelium in A. yongei but not S. pistillata, while PMCA was abundant in the gastroderm of S. pistillata but not A. yongei. These differences indicate that these two coral species utilize distinct pathways to deliver ions to the sites of calcification and photosynthesis. Finally, antibodies against mammalian sodium bicarbonate cotransporters (NBC; SLC4 family) resulted in strong immunostaining in the apical membrane of oral epithelial cells and in calicoblastic cells in A. yongei, a pattern identical to NKA. Characterization of ion transport mechanisms is an essential step toward understanding the cellular mechanisms of coral physiology and will help predict how different coral species respond to environmental stress.

  11. Validation of microsatellite multiplexes for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two hybridizing species of coral reef fish (Plectropomus spp., Serranidae).

    PubMed

    Harrison, Hugo B; Feldheim, Kevin A; Jones, Geoffrey P; Ma, Kayan; Mansour, Hicham; Perumal, Sadhasivam; Williamson, David H; Berumen, Michael L

    2014-06-01

    Microsatellites are often considered ideal markers to investigate ecological processes in animal populations. They are regularly used as genetic barcodes to identify species, individuals, and infer familial relationships. However, such applications are highly sensitive the number and diversity of microsatellite markers, which are also prone to error. Here, we propose a novel framework to assess the suitability of microsatellite datasets for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two closely related species of coral reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus and P. maculatus (Serranidae). Coral trout are important fisheries species throughout the Indo-Pacific region and have been shown to hybridize in parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We first describe the development of 25 microsatellite loci and their integration to three multiplex PCRs that co-amplify in both species. Using simulations, we demonstrate that the complete suite of markers provides appropriate power to discriminate between species, detect hybrid individuals, and resolve parent-offspring relationships in natural populations, with over 99.6% accuracy in parent-offspring assignments. The markers were also tested on seven additional species within the Plectropomus genus with polymorphism in 28-96% of loci. The multiplex PCRs developed here provide a reliable and cost-effective strategy to investigate evolutionary and ecological dynamics and will be broadly applicable in studies of wild populations and aquaculture brood stocks for these closely related fish species.

  12. Development of Tissue to Total Mass Correction Factor for Porites divaricata in Calcification Rate Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannone, T. C.; Kelly, S. K.; Foster, K.

    2013-05-01

    One anticipated result of ocean acidification is lower calcification rates of corals. Many studies currently use the buoyant weights of coral nubbins as a means of estimating skeletal weight during non-destructive experiments. The objectives of this study, conducted at the Little Cayman Research Centre, were twofold: (1) to determine whether the purple and yellow color variations of Porites divaricata had similar tissue mass to total mass ratios; and (2) to determine a correction factor for tissue mass based on the total coral mass. T-test comparisons indicated that the tissue to total mass ratios were statistically similar for purple and yellow cohorts, thus allowing them to be grouped together within a given sample population. Linear regression analysis provided a correction factor (r2 = 0.69) to estimate the tissue mass from the total mass, which may eliminate the need to remove tissue during studies and allow subsequent testing on the same nubbins or their return to the natural environment. Additional work is needed in the development of a correction factor for P. divaricata with a higher prediction accuracy.

  13. Modeling Surface Water Transport in the Central Pacific Ocean With 129I Records From Coral Skeletons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beck, W.; Biddulph, D. L.; Russell, J. L.; Burr, G. S.; Jull, T. J.; Correge, T.; Roeder, B.

    2008-12-01

    129I occurs naturally in extremely low abundance via cosmic ray interactions in the atmosphere as well as by spontaneous fission of uranium. Oceanic concentrations of 129I have risen by several orders of magnitude during the last half century largely from environmental pollution coming from several point-source nuclear fuel reprocessing plants. In the Pacific basin, much of the increase has apparently come from the Hanford Nuclear reprocessing plant in the United States, with iodine primarily arriving via the Columbia River. Coral skeletons preserve records of 129I concentration of the surface waters from which they were deposited, yielding records with annual resolution or better. We will present three such records from different locations in the Pacific Ocean: the Solomon Islands, Easter Island and Clipperton Atoll. For this study, drill cores from living massive coral skeletons of the species Porites Lobata were collected from these sites. 129I/127I values were measured using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at the University of Arizona with an NEC 3 MV Pelletron accelerator. Results from the analysis of the corals will be compared to the distribution of other mixed-layer tracers (chloro-fluorocarbons and tritium) collected during the World Ocean Circulation Experiment cruises conducted between 1990 and 2002. The 129I/127I records observed in these corals will also be compared to tracer transit time calculations determined from a 20th century simulation of the GFDL coupled-climate passive-tracer model.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

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

  15. Differential response of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species to ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Movilla, Juancho; Orejas, Covadonga; Calvo, Eva; Gori, Andrea; López-Sanz, Àngel; Grinyó, Jordi; Domínguez-Carrió, Carlos; Pelejero, Carles

    2014-09-01

    Cold-water coral (CWC) reefs constitute one of the most complex deep-sea habitats harboring a vast diversity of associated species. Like other tropical or temperate framework builders, these systems are facing an uncertain future due to several threats, such as global warming and ocean acidification. In the case of Mediterranean CWC communities, the effect may be exacerbated due to the greater capacity of these waters to absorb atmospheric CO2 compared to the global ocean. Calcification in these organisms is an energy-demanding process, and it is expected that energy requirements will be greater as seawater pH and the availability of carbonate ions decrease. Therefore, studies assessing the effect of a pH decrease in skeletal growth, and metabolic balance are critical to fully understand the potential responses of these organisms under a changing scenario. In this context, the present work aims to investigate the medium- to long-term effect of a low pH scenario on calcification and the biochemical composition of two CWCs from the Mediterranean, Dendrophyllia cornigera and Desmophyllum dianthus. After 314 d of exposure to acidified conditions, a significant decrease of 70 % was observed in Desmophyllum dianthus skeletal growth rate, while Dendrophyllia cornigera showed no differences between treatments. Instead, only subtle differences between treatments were observed in the organic matter amount, lipid content, skeletal microdensity, or porosity in both species, although due to the high variability of the results, these differences were not statistically significant. Our results also confirmed a heterogeneous effect of low pH on the skeletal growth rate of the organisms depending on their initial weight, suggesting that those specimens with high calcification rates may be the most susceptible to the negative effects of acidification.

  16. Gene Expression Variation Resolves Species and Individual Strains among Coral-Associated Dinoflagellates within the Genus Symbiodinium

    PubMed Central

    Parkinson, John E.; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Michell, Craig T.; Baums, Iliana B.; LaJeunesse, Todd C.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    Reef-building corals depend on symbiotic mutualisms with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. This large microalgal group comprises many highly divergent lineages (“Clades A–I”) and hundreds of undescribed species. Given their ecological importance, efforts have turned to genomic approaches to characterize the functional ecology of Symbiodinium. To date, investigators have only compared gene expression between representatives from separate clades—the equivalent of contrasting genera or families in other dinoflagellate groups—making it impossible to distinguish between clade-level and species-level functional differences. Here, we examined the transcriptomes of four species within one Symbiodinium clade (Clade B) at ∼20,000 orthologous genes, as well as multiple isoclonal cell lines within species (i.e., cultured strains). These species span two major adaptive radiations within Clade B, each encompassing both host-specialized and ecologically cryptic taxa. Species-specific expression differences were consistently enriched for photosynthesis-related genes, likely reflecting selection pressures driving niche diversification. Transcriptional variation among strains involved fatty a