Fw: [Coral-List] Zbar Coral 'disease' unidentified

Lisa - Chumbe info at chumbeisland.com
Thu Sep 2 05:22:28 EDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carol - Chumbe" <chumbe at zitec.org>
To: "Bette Willis" <Bette.Willis at jcu.edu.au>; "Eric Borneman"
<eborneman at uh.edu>; "Shimrit Perkol" <lucasdo4 at prodigy.net.mx>; "Tom Goreau"
<goreau at bestweb.net>; "Andrew Baird" <andrew.baird at jcu.edu.au>; "William
Allison" <beliamall at dhivehinet.net.mv>; "Scott Godwin"
<sgodwin at nmsc.edu.au>; "Rich Watson" <watson at aquariausa.com>; "Drew Harvell"
<cdh5 at cornell.edu>; "Adam Pharaoh" <adampharaoh at hotmail.com>; "Michael Risk"
<riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>; "Phillip Dustan" <dustanp at cofc.edu>; "Deb
Gochfeld" <gochfeld at olemiss.edu>; "E Weil" <eweil at caribe.net>; "Simon
Wilson" <simon.wilson at adelphi-env.com>; "Sheila McKenna"
<sheilamckenna at yahoo.com>; "Liz Morris" <ospe16 at bangor.ac.uk>; "Louis
Celliers" <louis at ori.org.za>; "Jo Davy" <s4047240 at student.uq.edu.au>; "Greta
Abey" <greta at hawaii.edu>; "Tim McClanahan" <tmcclanahan at wcs.org>
Cc: <Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 12:00 PM
Subject: Fw: [Coral-List] Zbar Coral 'disease' unidentified

> Hi everyone
> Sorry it's taken a while to get back, I haven't been able to send from my
> computer since I first sent the message to coral list, so I'm having to
> forward to someone else first!
> Thank you for all your responses.
> First, the pink blotches.  It looks exactly like those on the pictures
> attached here, which were sent to me by Eric (see below).  So it seems
> alot of you were right and that they are trematodes.  Would you agree from
> this photo?  I've tried to summarise responses below...
> Deb Gochfeld: suggested it is a parasitic infection described by Greta
> (greta at hawaii.edu) and now called Porites trematodiasis.  I would be happy
> to take a tissue sample if Greta would be able to verify identification.
> How do I prepare the sample?  Dry / alcohol etc.?
> - We have very limited facilities here but I could probably get basic
> chemicals from the local marine institute.
> Drew Harvell: asked 1) Are the spots on Porites very regular and circular
> with a spot or tube in the center?  Or are they more splotchy?
> - My answer: I would say they are splotchy, not regular at all (see pic)
> Second, the mucus web.
> There seem to be three schools of thought on the web: 1) stress response;
> vermetidae worm strands; 3) fungal infection.  My first reaction would be
> say it's the former because it seems to specifically cover the colony.
> Where half the colony is grey in colour and the other half is healthy, the
> mucus covers the healthy coral.  I will watch this over time though and
> if the covered section remains in good health ie. if it's being protected
> attacked.
> In answer to Simon Wilson, the weather if anything has been much more
> than we would have anticipated for June - Aug.  There have been few calm
> days.  One thought that I had though was that we do have a constant battle
> with the ferries passing too close to Chumbe Island (where these problems
> have been observed), sometimes just under 1 nautical mile.  They have
> powerful engines that may be causing sediment stress on the corals?
> However, the corals observed with the mucus 'cover' were on the inside
> which would be assumed to be less affected by sediment kicked up at sea.
> Therefore, I would like to hear more about the fungal infection,
> as Tim's observed this in the same geographical region.  Are there any
> papers / pictures on this that could be sent to me electronically?
> Again, I'd be happy to take samples, but what should I do with them?
> collect and put in a container and send away?  Do they need to be fixed /
> dried etc.?
> Here are some of your comments...
> Philip Dustan: It looked a lot like thick spider web strands woven
> to form an almost blanket over the corals
> - I would agree with this description
> Adam Pharaoh: As for the mucus around the Millepora? and Acropora, I would
> bet that in most cases the mucus is a sublethal stress response to some
> other process that has caused the other part of the colony to die.  The
> portion you see the mucus on has just not died yet...or might struggle on
> and recover.
> Simon Wilson: The web on the Millepora sounds like it might be a muscus
> sheath that the coral is putting out in response to a stressor, so rather
> than killing the coral its what the coral is producing as it dies by the
> hand of something else. Is there anything unusual happening in the water
> over there at the moment? High seawater temperatures, very calm days/no
> wind, no clouds?
> Rich Watson: I was wondering if by chance the areas you are looking at may
> be overrun with Vermetidea snails? They are stationary organisms that
> secrete mucous which over time can kill neighboring Acropora, Montipora,
> Millepora, etc. We
> generally see large populations of these within captive systems that have
> high nutrient import (liquids). Hope this helps.
> Scott Godwin: The second condition sounds like a fungal infection,
> 'fungal syndrome' which has been found affecting corals of many genera
> many parts of the East African coastline. Tim McClanahan is the man to
> I think he has a paper in the pipeline on this syndrome. It causes
> of the coral, and results in the characteristic grey colour you described.
> If possible, it would be good to take a small sample of the diseased
> colonies and observe it under a microscope. The fungal filaments should be
> very obvious if they are present.
> Drew Harvell: asked 2)  This second condition sounds like it may be
> killing-- it would be good to keep an eye on this one.  Can you estimate
> rapidly it is killing either the acropora or Millepora?  It would be
> to mark some of the affected colonies to estimate if this is a rapid
> We might want to get samples of this one right away if so.
> In summary, I think we've solved the pink blotches, unless anyone has
> further comments?  The mucus is still a debate between being
> and a fungal infection.   I would really appreciate any information on
> that there maybe e.g. electronic papers as we don't have access to a good
> library.  In the meantime I will tag some affected colonies with each
> problem and assess over time.  I've spoken to the Ports Authorities about
> the ferries and hope that once again they will pass at a greater distance
> (we keep trying!).  Unfortunately getting a camera for photos is tricky
> there may be a way in a few weeks.
> Can anyone put this photo on a website so that the cora-list can see them?
> Thanks again for everyone's input.
> Carol
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Eric Borneman" <eborneman at uh.edu>
> To: "Carol - Chumbe" <chumbe at zitec.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 3:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Zbar Coral 'disease' unidentified
> Look something like this?
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> On Aug 27, 2004, at 2:31 AM, Carol - Chumbe wrote:
> > Dear Coral-listers
> >
> > I am writing from Zanzibar, Africa, and wish to ask for comments on
> > two 'diseases / bacteria'(?) I have seen on corals recently around the
> > islands here.  There are two types of 'problems' that seem to be
> > affecting different corals...
> >
> > 1) Small, bright pink, chalky patches on Porites lutea.  These patches
> > are little mounds, only about 1cm in diameter, about 1 - 2mm high and
> > I observed them sometimes densely covering the Porites species, other
> > times only with a few patches per colony.  The coral tissue seems to
> > be damaged directly underneath each patch but not beyond it ie. not
> > very deep into the coral skeleton.
> >
> > 2) Fine web, mainly over Millepora but also found on some Acropora
> > species.  The best I can describe this is that it looks like a fine
> > mesh of mucus strung over part or whole colonies.  There are a few
> > colonies with half of the coral destroyed and the web encasing the
> > remaining living part ie. indicating that the web has resulted in the
> > death of the coral - still has it's colony shape but is grey in colour
> > with all the tissue gone.
> >
> > Unfortunately we don't have pictures of these but can anyone help in
> > identifying the problem from my description or know of something
> > similar and how destructive they are?
> >
> > Thanks
> > Carol
> >
> > ~~~ <>< ~~~ ><> ~~~ <>< ~~~ ><> ~~~ <>< ~~~ ><> ~~~ <>< ~~~
> > Carol Daniels
> > Conservation Co-ordinator
> >
> > Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd (CHICOP)
> > P.O.Box 3203, Zanzibar, Tanzania
> > Tel & Fax: 255 (0)24 223 1040
> > Mobile 255 (0)747 465363 / (0)744 463734
> > Email: chumbe at zitec.org, Website: www.chumbeisland.com
> > ~~~ <>< ~~~ ><> ~~~ <>< ~~~ ><> ~~~ <>< ~~~><> ~~~ <>< ~~~
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
> >
> Best,
> Eric Borneman

More information about the Coral-List mailing list