[Coral-List] re: Palythoa/zoanthid bleaching

Jaap, Walt Walt.Jaap at MyFWC.com
Tue Sep 13 08:20:21 EDT 2005

In the region of the Florida Keys to as far north as Stuart, Florida (24.4 to 27.1 N latitude) Palythoa is a common constituent of the shallow reefs.  Since the 1970s, when seawater temperatures approach 30 degrees C, Palythoa becomes pale yellow to white.  It often times retracts the polyps to the point that they are hardly visible.  It is one of the first sentinels of a bleaching episode. When temperatures exceed 31 degrees C, it turns ghost white.  We tend to refer to the common species in our region as Palythoa mammillosa, please see: Cairns, S.A., et al., 2002. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Cnidaria and Ctenophora. Second Edition. American Fisheries Society. Special Publication 28. 115 pages.     

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of James Reimer
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 9:03 PM
To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] re: Palythoa/zoanthid bleaching

Dear Dr. Pecheux and coral-listers,

Regarding your comments on Palythoa bleaching, just a few observations (mostly anecdotal) for you. From what I have seen in southern Japan, Palythoa spp. seem to vary quite a bit even from week to week in color - often with "patchy" bleaching or whole colony bleaching in summer, with no regular or obvious distribution to the bleaching (i.e. depth, lighting etc.). However, these colonies always seem to recover. Palythoa in the Indian Ocean had been shown to be flexible in their association with Symbiodinium (see Burnett 2002), so maybe that is affecting what I have seen in the Pacific. The other observation of note is that (at least in s. Japan) Palythoa spp. live much higher up in the intertidal zone than almost any coral or zoanthid I have seen, and in tide pools where summer water temperatures regularly exceed 40C  - and seem to be thriving. I would guess there is some kind of flexibility with symbionts allowing this..

 Anyways, would be interested to hear about what others have seen.


James Reimer
JSPS Fellow
Marine Ecology and Biology Research Program JAMSTEC
2-15 Natsushima
Yokosuka, Japan
e-mail: jreimer at jamstec.go.jp

Message: 2
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2004 07:18:35 +0200
From: Martin P?cheux <martin.pecheux at free.fr>
Subject: [Coral-List] Palythoa bleaching ?? and ascidians ???? 
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Message-ID: <41428AAA.C748985B at free.fr>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1; x-mac-type="54455854"; 

Dear divers, 

Edwin Ervin (email the 9/9/05)  mentions Palythoa caribbaeorum as bleaching in Puerto Rico. I had just prepared this email few days
I did not read a mention of bleaching of Palythoa spp. since a very long time. In the 1980s to around 〜1995, many publications quoted it as bleaching, and often the worst. Would it be a focus of observers on hard corals? or are they less? or would have they adapted? or whatever ? I attach some importance as they have the symbionts in the ectoderm, so deducing less O2 or O. radicals concentration, shorter CO2/HCO3 pathway, in particular during bleaching doldrum/low water agitation time (or could it be the reverse?). Even anecdotical reports are wellcome. 

Also, there is still just one report of bleaching of prochordate Ascidians (in didemids), symbiotic with the strange "prokaryotic-eukaryotic" Prochloron. Would some body have also observed it ? (in GOREAU, T. J., and HAYES, R. L., 1995. Coral reef bleaching in the South Central Pacific during 1994. Coral Reef Initiative, US Dept. 
State, Washington DC, USA. 201pp) 

Thanks observers, 

Dr. Martin P鹹heux
Institut des Foraminif鑽es Symbiotiques
16, rue de la Fontaine de l'Esp駻ance, 92160 Antony, France martin.pecheux at free.fr 
+33(0) 8711 804 32
Publications at  www.reefbase.org in which Review on Reef Bleaching, 214p. 

(Martin P鹹heux means King-Fishex. I am still not Web footed) 



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