Advertisement

Hydrobiologia

, Volume 460, Issue 1–3, pp 53–63 | Cite as

Yellow band and dark spot syndromes in Caribbean corals: distribution, rate of spread, cytology, and effects on abundance and division rate of zooxanthellae

  • J. Cervino
  • T. J. Goreau
  • I. Nagelkerken
  • G. W. Smith
  • R. Hayes
Article

Abstract

Yellow band and dark spot syndromes have been frequently observed to affect coral species throughout the Caribbean within the last 10 years. These syndromes significantly impair at least three important reef-building species. Yellow band (also known as yellow blotch) appears as rings or blotches on Montastrea annularis throughout the Caribbean. The coral tissue necrosis occurs at a rate of approximately 0.6 cm/month. Transect measurements at various locations indicated that as many as 90% of M. annularis were affected by yellow band during 1997–98. Tissue samples reveal a 41–96.9% decrease in zooxanthellae/sample compared to healthy specimens, depending on distance from healthy tissue. Mitotic indices (MI) of zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae appearing as doublets) for M. annularis are 2.5%. MI in yellow band samples directly bordering healthy tissue are less than 0.9%, and zooxanthellae directly within the band bordering exposed skeleton had a mitotic index of 0.0%. This indicates impairment of zooxanthellae cell division in yellow band specimens. Zooxanthellae are not expelled and appear vacuolated and devoid of organelles. Dark spot, characterized by tissue necrosis as well as a depression of the colony surface, affects Stephanocoenia michelinii and Siderastrea siderea throughout the Caribbean. Transects showed that as many as 56% of S. michelinii and S. siderea showed signs of dark spot during 1997–98. Affected tissues of S. siderea died at a rate of 4.0 cm/month. In dark spot samples from S. siderea, the total number of zooxanthellae was 56% of that in healthy tissue; dark spot-affected specimens of S. michelinii showed a 14% decrease in the number of zooxanthellae compared to healthy tissue samples. Mitotic indices of zooxanthellae from healthy specimens of S. sidereawere 1.20% compared to 0.40% in dark spot samples. Mitotic indices of healthy S. michelinii were 1.54% compared to 0.23% in dark spot samples, also indicating a decrease in algal cell division. Zooxanthellae from dark spot tissue are swollen and darker in pigment. Due to the changes that are evident in the symbiotic algae, we suggest that both syndromes act primarily on the zooxanthellae symbiont, and secondarily on the cnidarian host.

mitotic index zooxanthellae yellow band and dark spot 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Antonius, A., 1977. Coral mortality in reefs: a problem for science and management. Proc. 3 Int. Coral Reef Symp. 2: 618–623.Google Scholar
  2. Antonius, A., 1981, a. Coral reef pathology: a review. Proc. 4th Int Coral Reef Symp. 2: 3–6.Google Scholar
  3. Antonius, A., 1981, b. The ‘band’ diseases in coral reefs. Proc. 4th Int. Coral Reef Symp. 2: 6–14.Google Scholar
  4. Cervino, J. M. & G. W. Smith, 1997. Corals in Peril. Ocean Realm 2: 32–34.Google Scholar
  5. DiSalvo, L. H., 1971. Regenerative functions and microbial ecology of coral reefs: labelled bacteria in a coral reef microcosm. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 7: 123–136.Google Scholar
  6. Ducklow, H. W. & R. Mitchell, 1979. Composition of mucus released by coral reef coelenterates. Limnol. Oceonogr. 24: 706–714.Google Scholar
  7. Garzon-Ferreira, J. & D. L. Gil, 1998. Another unknown Caribbean coral phenomenon? Reef Encounter 24: 10.Google Scholar
  8. Garrett, P. & H. Ducklow, 1975. Coral diseases in Bermuda. Nature 253: 349–350.Google Scholar
  9. Geiser, D. M., J. W. Taylor, K. B. Ritchie, & G. W. Smith, 1998. Cause of Sea fan death in the West Indies. Nature 394: 137–138.Google Scholar
  10. Goreau, T. F. & N. I. Goreau, 1960. Distribution of labeled carbon in reef building corals with and without zooxanthellae. Science 131: 668–669.Google Scholar
  11. Goreau, T. J., R. L. Hayes, J. W. Clark, D. J. Basta & C. N. Robertson, 1993. Elevated sea surface temperatures correlate with Caribbean coral reef bleaching. In Geyer, R. A., (ed.), A Global Warming Forum: Scientific, Economic, and Legal Overview. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida: 225–255.Google Scholar
  12. Goreau, T. J., J. Cervino, M. Goreau, R. Hayes, M. Hayes, L. Richardson, G. Smith, K. DeMeyer, I. Nagelkerken, J. Garzon-Ferrera, D. Gil, G. Garrison, E. H. Williams, L. Bunkley-Williams, C. Quirolo, K. Patterson, J. Porter & K. Porter, 1998. Rapid Spread of Caribbean Coral Reef Diseases. Rev. Biol. Trop. 46: 157–171.Google Scholar
  13. Hayes, R. L., & C. M. King, 1995, Induction of 70 kD heat shock protein in scleractinian corals by elevated temperature: significance for coral bleaching. Mol. Mar. Biol. Biochem. 4: 36–42.Google Scholar
  14. Hayes, R. L. & N. I. Goreau, 1998. The significance of emerging diseases in the tropical coral reef ecosystem. Rev. Biol. Trop. 46: 173–185.Google Scholar
  15. Johannes, R. E. & W. J. Wiebe, 1970. A method for determination of coral tissue biomass and composition. Limnol. Oceanogr. 21: 540–547.Google Scholar
  16. Jones, R. J., 1997. Zooxanthellae loss as a bioassay for assessing stress in corals. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 149: 163–171.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, R. J. D. & D. Yellowlees, 1997. Regulation and control of intracellular algae (=zooxanthellae) in hard corals. Phil. Trans. r. Soc. Lond. B. 352: 457–468.Google Scholar
  18. Mitchell, R. & I. Chet, 1975. Bacterial attack of corals in polluted seawater. Microbiol. Ecol. 2: 227–233.Google Scholar
  19. Muscatine, L., P. G. Falkowski, J. W. Porter, & Dubinski, 1984. Fate of photosynthetic fixed carbon in light and shaded adapted colonies of the symbiotic coral Stylophora pistillata. Proc. r. Soc. Lond. B. 222: 181–202.Google Scholar
  20. Muscatine, L. & P. L. McNeil, 1989. Endosymbiosis in Hydra and the evolution of internal defense systems. Am. Zool. 29: 371–386.Google Scholar
  21. Nagelkerken, I., K. Buchan, G. W. Smith, K. Bonair, P. Bush, J. Garzon-Ferreira, I. Botero, P. Gayle, C. D. Harvell, C. Heberer, K. Kim, C. Petrovic, I. Pors & P. Yoshioka, 1997. Widespread disease in Caribbean sea fans: II Patterns of infection and tissue loss. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 160: 255–263.Google Scholar
  22. Richardson, L., 1998. Coral Diseases:What is really known? Trends Ecol. Evol. 13: 438–443.Google Scholar
  23. Rublee, P. A., H. R. Lasker, M. Gottfried & M. R. Roman, 1980. Production and bacterial colonization of mucus from the soft coral Briareum abestinum. Bull. mar. Sci. 30: 888–893.Google Scholar
  24. Santavy, D. L., & E. C Peters, 1997. Microbial pests: Coral diseases in the western Atlantic. Proceedings, 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, Panama. 1: 607–612.Google Scholar
  25. Santavy, D. L., E. C. Peters, C. Quirolo, J.W. Porter & C. N. Bianchi, 1999.Yellow blotch disease outbreak on reefs of the San Blas Islands, Panama. Coral Reefs 18: 97.Google Scholar
  26. Smith, G. W., L. D. Ives, I. A. Nagelkerken & K. B. Ritchie, 1996. Aspergilliosis associated with Caribbean sea fan mortalities. Nature 382: 487.Google Scholar
  27. Smith, G. W., C. D. Harvell & K. Kim, 1998. Observations on the pathogenesis of sea fans affected with Aspergillus sp. Rev. Biol. Trop. 46: 205–208.Google Scholar
  28. Steele, R. D. & N. Goreau, 1977. The breakdown of symbiotic zooxanthellae in the sea anemone Phyllactis (=Oulactis) flosculifera (Actiniara). J. Zool. Lond. 181: 421–437.Google Scholar
  29. Suharsono, R. K., & B. E. Brown, 1992. Comparative measurements of mitotic index in zooxanthellae from a symbiotic cnidarian subject to temperature increase. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 158: 179–188.Google Scholar
  30. Trench, R. K., 1971. The physiology and biochemistry of zooxanthellae symbiotic with marine coelenterates. 11. Liberation of fixed 14C by zooxanthellae in vitro. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. Ser. B 177: 237–250.Google Scholar
  31. Wilkerson F. P., D. Kobayashi & L. Muscatine, 1988. Mitotic Index of Symbiotic Algae in Caribbean Reef Corals. Coral Reefs 7: 29–36.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, E. H. & L. Bunkley-Williams, 1990. The world wide coral reef bleaching cycle and related sources of coral mortality. Atoll Res. Bull. 335: 1–71.Google Scholar
  33. Yonge, C. M. & A. G. Nicholls, 1931. Studies on the physiology of corals. IV The structure, distribution and physiology of the zooxanthellae. Sci. Rep. Gr. Barrier Reef Exped. 1928–1929 1: 135–176.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Cervino
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. J. Goreau
    • 1
  • I. Nagelkerken
    • 3
  • G. W. Smith
    • 4
  • R. Hayes
    • 5
  1. 1.Global Coral Reef AllianceChappaquaU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of South CarolinaColumbiaU.S.A.
  3. 3.University of NijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.University of South CarolinaColumbiaU.S.A.
  5. 5.Howard UniversityWashingtonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations