El Nino; Coral-associated marine heterotrophs

Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at coral.AOML.ERL.GOV
Fri Jul 28 05:24:25 EDT 1995

We are attempting to catch up on our coral health abstracts (listed at our 
Home Page http://coral.aoml.erl.gov), namely from 1994 to present.  Here 
are two from 1994:  

Lough, J.M. 1994. Climate variation and El Nino-Southern  
Oscillation events on the Great Barrier Reef: 1958 to 1987. Coral  
Reefs 13(3): 181-195. 

Seasonal and inter-annual variation of several surface climate  
variables near the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are described for the  
30-year period, 1958-1987. Large inter-annual variability of  
rainfall and river flow in coastal Queensland is linked to the  
aperiodic influences of El Nino-Southern Oscillation events.  
These events also affect sea surface temperature and wind fields,  
though the inter-annual variability of these variables is not as  
large as rainfall and river flow. The major impacts on waters of  
the GBR appear to be greatly increased freshwater inputs, reduced  
surface radiation (and thus light levels) and enhanced tropical  
cyclone activity during anti-El Nino events. El Nino events have  
less effect on climate of the GBR because they tend to maintain  
winter-like conditions. The effects of this background of high  
variability in the physical environment on reef processes must be  
considered when examining changes in such processes, changes in  
climate (e.g. due to global warming) or increases in  
anthropogenic impacts. 


Ritchie, K.B.; Smith, G.W. 1994. Carbon source utilization  
patterns of coral associated marine heterotrophs.  3rd  
International Marine Biotechnology Conference: Program, Abstracts  
and List of Participants. International Advisory Comm. of the  
Int. Marine Biotechnology Conference 1994, Tromsoe Norway TROMSOE  

Very little information exists on the structure of bacterial  
communities associated with scleractinian corals. Interest,  
however, in both community structure and changes in structure,  
has increased due to the realization that bacteria may play a  
major role in certain types of bleaching events. We have  
determined carbon utilization patterns for heterotrophic  
bacterial communities associated with the hard corals Monastrea  
annularis and Acropora cervicornis. Surface samples were taken  
from both healthy and bleached areas of the corals growing off  
the coast of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Similar population  
shifts were observed in both species during bleaching, and  
results indicate a pathogenic bacterium may be responsible for  
white band disease. 

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