Coral Reefs

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 593–597 | Cite as

Cellular processes of bleaching in the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica

  • T. D. Ainsworth
  • O. Hoegh-Guldberg


Annual bleaching of Oculina patagonica on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline has been reported since 1993, although the cellular mechanisms underlying the bleaching have not yet been investigated. This survey examined 48 coral colonies of O. patagonica (bleached and unbleached) from various sites along the Israeli coast. Histopathological investigations of bleached lesions revealed a loss of endosymbionts, and an apparent in situ degradation of the endosymbionts. In situ end labelling of bleaching lesions did not provide evidence of apoptotic cell death. Electron microscopy of bleaching lesions also demonstrated an apparent in situ degradation and no evidence of apoptotic cell death of the host.


In situ degradation Coral bleaching Apoptosis Histology 



The authors would like to thank Professor Eugene Rosenberg, Professor Yossi Loya and Dr Esti Kramasky-Winter for help with this project. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the GEF Coral Reef Targeted Research Program provided financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Marine Studies, and The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reefs StudiesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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