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

Hobbs JP, Frisch AJ, Newman SJ, Wakefield CB - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Following the outbreak, live Acropora plate coral cover at 5 m depth decreased significantly from 7.0 to 0.8%, while the cover of other coral taxa remained unchanged.Observations five years after the initial outbreak revealed that total Acropora plate cover remained low and confirmed that corals that lost all their tissue due to WS did not recover.These results demonstrate that WS represents a significant and selective form of coral mortality and highlights the serious threat WS poses to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

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

No MeSH data available.


Mean percent (± SE) cover of the most common habitat categories at the beginning of (February to April 2008—black bars), and after (October 2008—white bars), the White Syndrome outbreak at Christmas Island.The category “Other” includes sponges, anemones, Halimeda, fleshy macroalgae, gorgonians and zoanthids.
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pone.0132528.g002: Mean percent (± SE) cover of the most common habitat categories at the beginning of (February to April 2008—black bars), and after (October 2008—white bars), the White Syndrome outbreak at Christmas Island.The category “Other” includes sponges, anemones, Halimeda, fleshy macroalgae, gorgonians and zoanthids.

Mentions: At the beginning of the WS outbreak (February to April, 2008) mean live hard coral cover was 52.1% (±2.4 SE) on the reefs around Christmas Island. Following the outbreak, mean live hard coral cover decreased to 47.4% (±2.3 SE), while the mean of cover of crustose coralline algae increased from 11.7% (±0.9 SE) to 17.3% (±1.4 SE) and epithelial algal matrix increased from 11.1% (±1.0 SE), to 17.2% (±1.7 SE) (Fig 2). Other common habitat categories included rubble (8.2% ±1.5 SE), rock-bare substrate (7.7% ±1.2 SE) and soft coral (1.7% ±1.6 SE)(Fig 2).


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

Hobbs JP, Frisch AJ, Newman SJ, Wakefield CB - PLoS ONE (2015)

Mean percent (± SE) cover of the most common habitat categories at the beginning of (February to April 2008—black bars), and after (October 2008—white bars), the White Syndrome outbreak at Christmas Island.The category “Other” includes sponges, anemones, Halimeda, fleshy macroalgae, gorgonians and zoanthids.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4493122&req=5

pone.0132528.g002: Mean percent (± SE) cover of the most common habitat categories at the beginning of (February to April 2008—black bars), and after (October 2008—white bars), the White Syndrome outbreak at Christmas Island.The category “Other” includes sponges, anemones, Halimeda, fleshy macroalgae, gorgonians and zoanthids.
Mentions: At the beginning of the WS outbreak (February to April, 2008) mean live hard coral cover was 52.1% (±2.4 SE) on the reefs around Christmas Island. Following the outbreak, mean live hard coral cover decreased to 47.4% (±2.3 SE), while the mean of cover of crustose coralline algae increased from 11.7% (±0.9 SE) to 17.3% (±1.4 SE) and epithelial algal matrix increased from 11.1% (±1.0 SE), to 17.2% (±1.7 SE) (Fig 2). Other common habitat categories included rubble (8.2% ±1.5 SE), rock-bare substrate (7.7% ±1.2 SE) and soft coral (1.7% ±1.6 SE)(Fig 2).

Bottom Line: Following the outbreak, live Acropora plate coral cover at 5 m depth decreased significantly from 7.0 to 0.8%, while the cover of other coral taxa remained unchanged.Observations five years after the initial outbreak revealed that total Acropora plate cover remained low and confirmed that corals that lost all their tissue due to WS did not recover.These results demonstrate that WS represents a significant and selective form of coral mortality and highlights the serious threat WS poses to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

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

No MeSH data available.