Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 191–195 | Cite as

Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata (Lamarck) in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands

  • E. M. MullerEmail author
  • C. S. Rogers
  • A. S. Spitzack
  • R. van Woesik
Note

Abstract

Anomalously high water temperatures may enhance the likelihood of coral disease outbreaks by increasing the abundance or virulence of pathogens, or by increasing host susceptibility. This study tested the compromised-host hypothesis, and documented the relationship between disease and temperature, through monthly monitoring of Acropora palmata colonies from May 2004 to December 2006, in Hawksnest Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Disease prevalence and the rate of change in prevalence showed a positive linear relationship with water temperature and rate of change in water temperature, respectively, but only in 2005 during prolonged periods of elevated temperature. Both bleached and unbleached colonies showed a positive relationship between disease prevalence and temperature in 2005, but the average area of disease-associated mortality increased only for bleached corals, indicating host susceptibility, rather than temperature per se, influenced disease severity on A. palmata.

Keywords

Acropora palmata Coral disease Bleaching Temperature Host susceptibility 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by funds from the US Geological Survey Natural Resource Preservation Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies Program, and by in-kind contributions from the National Park Service (Virgin Islands National Park).

References

  1. Aronson RB, Precht WF (2001) White band disease and the changing face of Caribbean coral reefs. Hydrobiologia 460:25–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Box GEP, Cox DR (1964) An analysis of transformations. J Roy Stat Soc 26:211–252Google Scholar
  3. Brown BE, Dunne RP, Goodson MS, Douglas AE (2002) Experience shapes the susceptibility of a reef coral to bleaching. Coral Reefs 21:119–126Google Scholar
  4. Bruckner AW (2003) Proceedings of the Caribbean Acropora workshop: potential application of the U.S. Endangered Species Act as a conservation strategy. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-OPR-24Google Scholar
  5. Bruno JF, Selig ER, Casey KS, Page CA, Willis BL, Harvell CD, Sweatman H, Melendy AM (2007) Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks. PLoS Biol 5(6):e124 [doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050124]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Harvell CD, Mitchell CE, Ward JR, Altizer S, Dobson AP, Ostfeld RS, Samuel MD (2002) Climate warming and disease risks for terrestrial and marine biota. Science 296:2158–2162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hogarth WT (2006) Endangered and threatened species: final listing determinations for elkhorn and staghorn coral. Federal Register 71:26852–26861Google Scholar
  8. Holden C (1996) Coral disease hot spot in the Florida Keys. Science 274:2017Google Scholar
  9. Jones RJ, Bowyer J, Hough-Guldberg O, Blackall LL (2004) Dynamics of a temperature-related coral disease outbreak. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 281:63–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lesser MP, Bythell JC, Gates RD, Johnstone RW, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2007) Are infectious diseases really killing corals? Alternative interpretations of the experimental and ecological data. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 346:36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Miller J, Waara R, Muller E, Rogers C (2006) Coral bleaching and disease combine to cause extensive mortality on reefs of the US Virgin Islands. Coral Reefs 25:418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pandolfi JM (2002) Coral community dynamics at multiple scales. Coral Reefs 21:13–23Google Scholar
  13. Patterson KL, Porter JW, Ritchie KB, Polson SW, Mueller E, Peters EC, Santavy DL, Smith GW (2002) The etiology of white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:8725–8730PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ritchie KB (2006) Regulation of microbial populations by coral surface mucus and mucus-associated bacteria. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 322:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rowan R, Knowlton N, Baker A, Jara J (1997) Landscape ecology of algal symbionts creates variation in episodes of coral bleaching. Nature 388:265–269PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sutherland KP, Ritchie KB (2004) White pox disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. In: Rosenburg E, Loya Y (eds) Coral health and disease. Springer, Berlin, pp 289–300Google Scholar
  17. Sutherland KP, Porter JW, Torres C (2004) Disease and immunity in Caribbean and Indo-Pacific zooxanthellate corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 266:273–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Toren A, Landau L, Kushmaro A, Loya Y, Rosenburg E (1998) Effect of temperature on adhesion of Vibrio strain AK-1 to Oculina patagonica and on coral bleaching. Appl Environ Microbiol 64:1379–1384PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. M. Muller
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • C. S. Rogers
    • 2
  • A. S. Spitzack
    • 2
  • R. van Woesik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA
  2. 2.United States Geological Survey Caribbean Field StationSt JohnUS Virgin Islands

Personalised recommendations