[CDHC] new paper Oceanography Drew Harvell et al.

Cheryl Woodley cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov
Wed Jul 18 17:09:40 EDT 2007

Hi CDHC members,
Drew Harvell sent me one of their new papers. Unfortunately I can't 
attach pdf's but please contact Drew or myself if you're interested.
All the Best,

Coral Disease, Environmental Drivers, and the Balance between Coral and 
Microbial Associates*

Drew Harvell, Eroc Jordan–Dahlgren, Susan Merkel, Eugene Rosenberg, 
Laurie Raymundo, Garriet Smith, Ernesto Weil, and Bette Willis

Oceanography 20: 58-81, 2007

Across the Globe we are witnessing the decline of coral reef ecosystems. 
One relatively new factor contributing to this decline is the outbreak 
of destructive infectious diseases, especially on Caribbean reefs. As 
the Coral Disease Working Group of the Coral Reef Targeted Research 
Program, our research focuses on four priorities: (1) assessing the 
global prevalence of coral disease, (2) investigating the environmental 
drivers of disease, (3) identifying the pathogens that cause disease, 
and (4) evaluating the coral’s ability to resist disease. Monitoring has 
revealed new coral-disease syndromes at each of four Global 
Environmental Fund Centers of Excellence: the Caribbean, the 
Philippines, Australia, and East Africa. Over the last 20 years, drastic 
(> 50 percent) loss of coral cover has occurred on the Yucatán 
Peninsula, even in pristine areas. Global surveys have revealed 
significant levels of disease and disease outbreaks occurring not only 
in the Caribbean “hot spots,” but also in sites throughout the Pacific 
and Indian Oceans. By monitoring coral disease, we will create a 
baseline and long-term data set that can be used to test specific 
hypotheses about how climate and anthropogenic drivers, such as 
decreasing water quality, threaten coral reef sustainability. One such 
hypothesis is that high-temperature anomalies drive outbreaks of disease 
by hindering the coral’s ability to fight infection and by increasing 
the pathogens’ virulence. We observed recurrent outbreaks following the 
warm summer months of two of the most damaging diseases in the 
Caribbean. In addition, we found that coral disease in the Great Barrier 
Reef correlated with warm temperature anomalies. In the Caribbean and 
Mediterranean Seas, virulence of known coral pathogens and the normal 
coral flora changed during high-temperature periods. Other stresses such 
as high nutrients and sedimentation may similarly alter the balance 
between the coral and its resident microbial flora.

Cheryl Woodley, Ph.D.
Coral Health and Disease Program

Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research
Hollings Marine Laboratory
331 Fort Johnson Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
843.762.8862 Phone
843.762.8737 Fax
cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov

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