[Coral-List] Palythoa bleaching in Puerto Rico

Hernandez Edwin coral_giac at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 15 00:45:45 EDT 2005

Dear listers:

Hola! Just following on our previous posting regarding
bleaching in PR. We now have documentation of
bleaching (either personal data or reports) at
Palominos Island, Sur de Pando Rock, Palominitos
Island, and Cayo Largo, off Fajardo, in NE PR. Also,
from Isla Pineros, off Ceiba; and from Playa Larga,
Playa Zoni and Punta Soldado, Culebra Island. There
are also reports from La Parguera as well, very
similar to those previously documented by E. Weil.
Also, we got already a report of "major bleaching"
from St. Croix, USVI.

Quantitative data is being collected using digital
video images and high resolution digital photography
using a combination of rapid assessment methods and
fixed transects. We also documented the first ever
bleached colony of Mussa angulosa in eastern PR at
Cayo Largo and also extensive thickets of Acropora
cervicornis 100% bleached. This site will be revisited
tomorrow for reassessment and tagging.

Regarding Palythoa caribbaeorum bleaching, and
following up on the interesting discussion about that
species, with the exception of a single colony at Sur
de Pando Rock (La Cordillera Natural Reserve, off
Fajardo), 100% of the assessed P. caribbaeorum at each
site were bleached. But interesting, we documented
several colonies dying with some evident signs of
tissue necrosis. Polyps in the vast majority of the
colonies were retracted.

We plan to start some tagging studies at selected
sites to assess the fate of some bleached corals (and
non-bleached controls, if any) and plan to include
some P. caribbaeorum colonies as well.



Edwin A. Hernández-Delgado, Ph.D.
Affiliate Researcher

University of Puerto Rico
Department of Biology
Coral Reef Research Group
P.O. Box 23360
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3360
Tel (787) 764-0000, x-4855
Fax (787) 764-2610
e-mail: coral_giac at yahoo.com

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