[CDHC] New publication

Cheryl Woodley Cheryl.Woodley at noaa.gov
Mon Jul 11 11:18:15 EDT 2011

Dear CDHC Members,
I wanted to make you aware of a new publication that may be of 
interest.  It is available online in the journal Ecotoxicology.

Best Regards

Ecotoxicology. 2011 Jul 7. [Epub ahead of print]

  A survey of environmental pollutants and cellular-stress markers of
  Porites astreoides at six sites in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Downs CA, Woodley CM, Fauth JE, Knutson S, Burtscher MM, May LA, 
Avadanei AR, Higgins JL, Ostrander GK.


Coral communities along the coast of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands have 
exhibited site-specific behavior in declines. In order to determine if 
these specific coral communities are stressed and whether a pollutant or 
environmental factor present at this site is a probable stressor, we 
surveyed six near-shore coral communities in St. John, USVI for 
environmental pollutants and to determine the cellular physiological 
condition of the coral, Porites astreoides. The six sites within St. 
John are Cruz Bay, Caneel Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay, Tektite Reef in 
Beehive Bay, and Red Point. Red Point was considered the reference site 
because of its abundance and diversity of species, and it was the 
furthest removed from down-stream and down-current anthropogenic 
activities. All sites showed distinct cellular-stress marker patterns, 
indicating that the physiological condition of each population was 
different. Populations at Cruz, Hawksnest, Trunk, and Tektite were 
stressed, as indicated by high levels of DNA lesions and expression of 
stress proteins. Hawksnest and Tektite were contaminated with 
polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), while Cruz was contaminated with 
semi-volatile organochlorines and nitrogen-based biocides. At least for 
Hawksnest and Tektite, stress-marker patterns were consistent with an 
exposure to PAHs. Fecal coliform levels were high in Cruz and Trunk, 
indicating fecal contamination, as well as consideration for management 
action. Results from this study serve as a justification for a more 
thorough and methodical investigation into the stressors responsible for 
declines of coral populations within St. John. Furthermore, this study 
supports the argument for the importance of local factors contributing 
to regional coral reef declines; that not all forces impacting coral are 

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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