[Coral-List] Pink secretion on dead corals

James M. Cervino cnidaria at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 20 09:24:45 EDT 2005

Hi Albert,

This may be the pathology that the Raghukumars from India found and 
published. Ravindran J, Raghukumar C, Raghukumar S (2001) Fungi in 
Porites lutea: association with healthy and diseased corals. Dis 
Aquat Org 47:219-228 

Les Kaufman, Steve Golubec and myself looked at samples I collected 
from Papua New Guinea. Albert can we see photos ? Les, Chris Bentis 
and Steve have been conducting research on endolithic populations in 
corals for a while and may be able to help. These endoliths are found 
throughout all of my samples and seem to migrate towards the surface 
in stressful conditions.

This was also shown when the Raghukumars conducted cyannobacterial 
inoculations on these Porites colonies.  We only found this pathology 
in the most polluted waters and on mildly bleached corals. We also 
noticed pink mucus (in mesh like strands) residing on the surface of 
the coral.  This was NOT a pigmentation change as this was the same 
organism that was found occupying the coenosteum and columella walls 
or canals of the skeleton. We are thinking that the defense 
mechanisms are weakened thereby allowing the endolith to increase in 
population and migrate towards the surface. The mucus is a stress 
response from the coral that is mixed in with this mixture of 
microbes and endoliths and the pigment of the mucus may be a result 
of the population now on the surface of this stressed coral.

Bentis, C., L. Kaufman and S. Golubic. 2001. Endolithic fungi in 
reef-building corals (Order: Scleractinia) are common, cosmopolitan, 
and potentially pathogenic. Biol. Bul.. 198:254-260.

Priess, K., Le Campion-Alsumard, T., Golubic, S., Gadel, F., & 
Thomassin, B.A., 2000. Fungi in corals: black bands and 
density-banding of Porites lutea and P. lobata skeleton. Marine 
Biology 136: 19-27.

I dont have the e-mail for the Ragukumars however, some on this list 
may be able to help.


>Greetings listers,
>I am currently working on a larval settlement experiment. In my set-up I'm
>using dead coral oroigniating from six different species as natural
>substrate. The substrate is prepared from a few colonies of living coral
>which are cut into smaller fragments and cleaned of living tisue (using a
>high pressure air-blower and water pick)
>The problem is that in many cases a pink layer (mucus?) develops over the
>substrate (often seeping out into the surrounding water) that seems to be
>toxic to the larvae in each replicate. Substrate originating from porites
>lutea and pachyseris speciosa is giving us the greatest problems. My guess
>is that it's a cyanobacteria/fungus causing this (maybe the same as in the
>reported pink line syndrome). Anybody have any ideas?
>Albert Norstrom
>Department of Systems Ecology
>Stockholm University
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Professor James M. Cervino
Marine Pathology
Department of Biological & Health Sciences
Pace University New York NYC
Phone: (917)620-5287
Web site: http://www.globalcoral.org

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