Coral Reefs

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 507–510 | Cite as

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



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.


Coral disease Acanthaster planci Predation Ciliates Emergent Syndromes Injury 



Authors thank Dr. Suharsono and his colleagues at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) for their collaboration and long-term support, and G. Nieuwland and D. Nugues for field and laboratory assistance. This research was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (WOTRO grant WT 84-617).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT)BremenGermany
  2. 2.Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)Den Burg, TexelThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of Amsterdam, IBEDAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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