Tetracycline reduces sedimentation damage to corals
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- Hodgson, G. Mar. Biol. (1990) 104: 493. doi:10.1007/BF01314355
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Sediment deposition on coral reefs occurs naturally and is also caused by man-made disturbances such as dredging; it can result in the death of scleractinian corals by an unknown mechanism. Sedimentation experiments with corals were carried out in El Nido, Northern Palawan, Philippines, in 1986, and in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii in 1988. Four species of Indo-Pacific reef corals (Oxypora glabra, Montipora verrucosa, Porites lobata, Pocillopora meandrina) were subjected to sedimentation tests with and without the antibiotic tetracycline to investigate the possible role of microorganisms in the process of sedimentation damage to corals.O. glabra, Porites lobata andPocillopora meandrina were rapidly damaged andO. glabra was always killed by sedimentation.Montipora verrucosa was not injured and may be physiologically resistant to sedimentation damage. Tetracyclinetreated seawater reduced the rate of tissue necrosis and prevented colony mortality, suggesting that tetracycline-sensitive bacteria are involved in the process of tissue necrosis and may be partially responsible for coral mortality following sediment deposition.