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Ecology and Pathology of Novel Plaque-Like Growth Anomalies Affecting a Reef-Building Coral on the Great Barrier Reef

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dc.contributor Australian Res Council
dc.contributor James Cook Univ
dc.contributor James Cook University
dc.contributor Ctr Excellence Coral Reef Studies
dc.contributor Cornell Univ
dc.contributor Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
dc.contributor Marine Biol & Aquaculture
dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor Soproner
dc.contributor Cornell University
dc.contributor Coll Marine & Environm Sci
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci WILLIS, BETTE L. KELLY, LISA A. HEINTZ, TOM LAMB, JOLEAH B. AINSWORTH, TRACY D. 2019-02-17T18:59:45Z 2019-02-17T18:59:45Z 2019-07-08T02:43:35Z 2019-02-17T18:59:45Z 2019-02-17T18:59:45Z 2019-07-08T02:43:35Z 2016-01-01
dc.identifier.citation Kelly LA, Heintz T, Lamb JB, Ainsworth TD, Willis BL (2016) Ecology and pathology of novel plaque-like growth anomalies affecting a reef-building coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Frontiers in Marine Science 3: 151
dc.description.abstract Here we identify ecological and structural characteristics of a novel plaque-like growth anomaly (GA) at outbreak levels in a population of the staghorn coral, Acropora muricata, on the Great Barrier Reef. The smooth appearance of the plaques results from thickening of skeletal structures comprising the coenosteum, leading to infilling of spaces between corallites, and was associated with hyperplasia and hypertrophy of calicodermal cells. This resulted in a two-fold reduction in corallite height, a 1.6-fold increase in corallite width, and a 2.3-fold increase in the thickness of the calicodermal layer compared to healthy corallites. Plaque-like GAs affected similar to 67% of corals surveyed, and on average, encased 50% of the surface area of diseased branches. Progression rates along branches averaged 0.22 mm day(-1) over a 2.5-month period. GM spread throughout colonies but their presence did not affect the linear extension rates of branches. Reproductive products were absent in 55% of GA tissues, and when present, mean oocyte and spermary numbers were reduced by 50%. However, when present, mean sizes of oocytes and spermaries did not differ between healthy and GA tissues. Symbiodinium densities were also reduced by 50% in polyps within GA tissues, which were characterized by an absence of polyp structure and chaotic arrangement of gastrovascular canals, compromising host nutrition. A three-fold increase in stores of the immune-related precursor, prophenoloxidase, within GA tissues compared to healthy tissue suggests a primed immune response. Concomitantly, only 35% of prophenoloxidase was converted to the active enzyme phenoloxidase compared to 81% in healthy tissues, consistent with inhibition of immune-related enzymatic reactions by an unknown causative agent. The increasing frequency of emerging disease hotspots highlights the importance of understanding sublethal effects of diseases that have important implications for the fitness and long-term resilience of coral populations.
dc.description.sponsorship Funding was provided by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies to BW and an AIMSO@JCU research award to JL. Samples were collected on permit numbers G07/23617.1. in 2010 and G11/34003.1 in 2011, issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
dc.language English
dc.subject Growth Anomalies
dc.subject Marine & Freshwater Biology
dc.subject Ecology
dc.subject Acropora
dc.subject Coral Disease
dc.subject Innate Immune System
dc.subject Environmental Sciences & Ecology
dc.subject Pathology
dc.subject Great Barrier Reef
dc.subject Environmental Sciences
dc.title Ecology and Pathology of Novel Plaque-Like Growth Anomalies Affecting a Reef-Building Coral on the Great Barrier Reef
dc.type journal article
dc.identifier.doi 10.3389/fmars.2016.00151
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000457358000148

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