Temporal dynamics of black band disease affecting pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) following two consecutive hyperthermal events on the Florida Reef Tract
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Black band disease (BBD) affects many coral species worldwide and is considered a major contributor to the decline of reef-building coral. On the Florida Reef Tract BBD is most prevalent during summer and early fall when water temperatures exceed 29 °C. BBD is rarely reported in pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) throughout the Caribbean, and here we document for the first time the appearance of the disease in this species on Florida reefs. The highest monthly BBD prevalence in the D. cylindrus population were 4.7% in 2014 and 6.8% in 2015. In each year, BBD appeared immediately following a hyperthermal bleaching event, which raises concern as hyperthermal seawater anomalies become more frequent.
KeywordsBlack band disease Coral bleaching Dendrogyra cylindrus Florida Reef Tract
We thank the Keys Marine Laboratory, Long Key, FL and Florida FWC/FWRI, Marathon, FL for logistical support, and scientific divers from KML, FWRI, and FIU for assistance with fieldwork. We are grateful to the members of the Integrative Marine Genomics and Symbiosis (IMaGeS) Lab for comments and suggestion on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Comments and suggestions provided by anonymous reviewers also greatly improved the manuscript. This research was supported by NSF RAPID grant #1503483 (to MRL & LLR) and conducted under Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary permits FKNMS-2014-004-A1 and FKNMS-2013-085-A1. This is contribution number 331 from the Tropical Biology Program of Florida International University.
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