"white plaque" coral infestation

Paula Low pj_mermaid at yahoo.ie
Fri Jan 26 21:03:31 EST 2001

Dear coral-listers

During research work on 22/01/01 in the Danjugan
Island marine reserve, Negros Occidental, Western
Visayas, Philippines, an unidentified "white plaque"
was observed covering areas of coral.  Characteristics
of this plaque are:

1. A thin (2 - 3mm), opaque/white encrusting layer
over a variety of coral lifeforms including P. lobata,
P. lutea, dead branching Acroporids, and other coral
2. although it was found on dead Acroporids, it was
primarily noticed because it was partially covering
live scleractinian colonies.
3. only coral colonies up to 20cm diameter, and
between 6 - 15m depth were observed to be covered by
the "plaque". However, extensive survey work has not
yet been carried out to determine whether these are
the actual limits of the "plaque" or not.
4. the "plaque" is hard to the touch as if it is
calcified. However, some small layers appeared to be
flaking off the main body of the plaque. These flakes
were very thin (</= 1mm) and were up to approximately
1-4cm in diameter.
4. some areas of "plaque" were observed to be covered
by a regular series of minute (<1mm diameter) pores
spaced at regular (0.5cm) intervals. This has prompted
us to question if this is a species of sponge.

This has never been observed on these reefs before, so
we would be grateful if details could be provided as
to what the "plaque" is, any known distributions, and
function. Photographs will be made available (in due

Please direct any comments or suggestions to any of
the addresses below.

Yours faithfully

PJ Low, Project Scientist, Coral Cay Conservation, and
Terence U. Dacles, Marine Biologist, PRRCFI.
#3 Dona Ceferina Building
Bacolod City
Negros Occidental

e-mail. pj_mermaid at yahoo.ie
        tpdacles at babysky.net.ph

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt
Indo-Pacific Marine Scientist, Coral Cay Conservation
154 Clapham Park Road
London SW4 7DE
e-mail: jls at coralcay.org or
jeanluc_solandt at yahoo.co.uk

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