, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 507-510
Date: 11 Feb 2009

Brown-band syndrome on feeding scars of the crown-of-thorn starfish Acanthaster planci

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Despite the growing impact of coral diseases on reef ecosystems, little is known about the role of coral predation in disease transmission. An experiment on the coral reefs of Derawan Island, Indonesia, revealed brown-band syndrome on Acropora cytherea coral colonies following predation by the crown-of-thorn starfish Acanthaster planci. To experimentally exclude predation, living coral tissue adjacent to feeding scars was enclosed using cages and monitored for 15 days. Compared with similarly caged but uninjured colonies, which showed no sign of disease or tissue loss, preyed upon colonies showed a higher incidence of the disease, coupled with further tissue mortality. This study provides preliminary evidence that A. planci might promote the transmission of some coral diseases.

Communicated by Environment Editor Prof. Rob van Woesik