[Coral-List] Porites Line Disease - Red Sea Photos

Zaki Moustafa zakimou at comcast.net
Fri Jan 11 10:55:32 EST 2008

Dear Coral-Listers, 

I just got around to posting some of my coral disease photos taken from
a fringing reef in the Gulf of Suez.  With the generous assistance of 
Dr. Goreau, I was able to identify and subset some examples of what
we are referring to as Porites Line Disease.  The last two photos showing
white pox marks may be the Porites Ulcerative White Spot Disease
Laurie Raymundo mentions.

Photos are posted at the following link:


Zaki Moustafa 

-----Original Message-----
>From:Julian Sprung <julian at tlfusa.com> wrote:
> Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007
> Subject: RE: Porites Line Disease

> A number of researchers have kindly sent me photos
> and pdf files of articles after I commented about
> the snails and spots on Porites. Some of the photos
> match the ones I have of the snail effects, some do
> not. I believe, as do the people who sent me photos,
> that there are several similar-looking conditions,
> and I agree that there seems to be disease involved
> in at least some of them. 
> Tom Goreau's description, below, of "progressive
> necrotic die back along a well defined rim" sounds
> like a disease, and in many cases probably is, but
> it also matches perfectly what you would see in an
> infestation by the nudibranch Cuthona cf.
> poritophages, shown on page 419 in the book The Reef
> Aquarium vol 2 written by Charles Delbeek and me.
> The nudibranch featured there is from Indonesia and
> is smaller than Cuthona poritophages, which was
> described from east Africa. It may be the same
> species, or a closely related one. This little beast
> is so small and looks so much like Porites polyps
> that it is unlikely to be seen underwater without
> aid of a magnifying lens. I may be wrong, but I
> suspect that many (but not all) of the "ubiquitous"
> examples of PLD are Cuthona infestations. There are
> similar infestations on Montipora and Alveopora, and
> the nudibranchs all appear similar but are different
> in size and probably are distinct species. 
> Sincerely,
> Julian Sprung

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Goreau [mailto:tomgoreau at yahoo.co.uk]
> Sent: Fri 11/30/2007 10:17 AM
> To: iamshanky15 at yahoo.com; lraymundo at guam.uog.edu
> Cc: delbeek at waquarium.org; Julian Sprung; James
> Cervino; esther.peters at verizon.net;
> zakimou at comcast.net; pmuller at marine.usf.edu;
> atolldino at yahoo.com; Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov
> Subject: Porites Line Disease
> Dear Shashank and Laurie,
> I'm in Indonesia and can't respond from my regular
> email or to the coral list server.
> Shashank is right that once you recognize it you
> will realize this disease is ubiquitous, but I agree with
> Laurie that her syndrome is completely distinct, and
> not the first stage of PLD. I looked a her photos in
> 2000, and they were clearly different fromm PLD,
> which she had not recognized when I described it to her. 
> But I do not agree with her that it is pigmentation
> response to damage, nor the result of response to
> parasites of borers, like Greta Aeby's trematode
> response, nor the grazing scars that Sprung and
> Delbeek describe, nor what Kaufman is talking about,
> nor the sort of line you can often find on growing
> edges of some Porites colonies. I have seen all of
> the syndromes they describe, and PLD is not any of them.
> PLD is a progressive necrotic die back along a well
> defined rim. Dean Jacobson has time series photos in
> the Marshall Islands documenting its rate of spread.
> Zaki Moustafa recently sent me photos from the Gulf
> of Suez in which PLD and Coralline White Line Disease
> (Goreau's Disease) were the most abundant syndromes.
> I have thousands of images of both of them, but can't
> access any of them, and Zaki has taken some
> excellent photos showing PLD, as well as Laurie's White Spot
> Syndrome and all the rest, and I am urging him to
> post a link to them on the list server. 
> Once people recognize it, they will see how ubiquitous
> it is, just like Shashank now has, and Zaki did once
> I pointed it out. Actually I am surprised that I was
> able to sit on this one for 10 years without anyone
> apparently publishing anything on it except for the
> pink line variant. 
> Best wishes,
> Tom
> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 21:12:59 -0800 (PST)
> From: shashank Keshavmurthy <iamshanky15 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Porites Line Disease
> To: Thomas Goreau <goreau at bestweb.net>,
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID:
> <932588.2262.qm at web37107.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Dear Tom and the listersIt is true that lost of
> Porites species is being affected by this line
> disease.  I just came back from the 10th Japanese
> Coral Reef Society Meeting and there was a
> presentation on the Porites ulcerative white spot
> disease, but as I could see, most of the photos showed
> what Tom mentions Porites Line Disease, with clear
> white, or Pink or even some blue lines.....
> It is being seen in Porites cylindrica in Ishigaki
> Islands, Okinawa.  I feel that the mistaken identity
> of ulcerative white spot disease is nothing but
> pre-Line disease symptom, which has progressed to
> the line disease.
> But definitely there is a presence of the line disease
> in large number of Porites cylindrica in Okinawa...
> As I understood from that presentation,
> histopathological and microbiological work is being
> carried out, but results are yet to be seen and I do
> not know when that will be possible.....
> Regards
> Shashank
> "Role of Infinitely Small in Nature is Infinitely
> Large" - Louis Pasteur
> ====================================
> Keshavmurthy Shashank
> Research Student, Graduate School of Kuroshio
> Science
> Laboratory of Environmental Conservation
> Kochi University, Monobe Campus, B 200
> Nankoku, Kochi, 783-8502, Japan
> Mobile: 81 08039253889
> My WebPage:
> Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 09:09:48 +1000
> From: "Laurie Raymundo" <lraymundo at guam.uog.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Porites Line Disease
> To: "shashank Keshavmurthy" <iamshanky15 at yahoo.com>
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <003e01c83081$71186e00$7c177ba8 at Darwin>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed;
> charset="iso-8859-1";
> reply-type=original
> Hello, Shashank:
> Porites Ulcerative White Spot disease is most
> certainly not a prelude to 
> what is being called "Line Disease".  There is no
> pigmentation response 
> associated with ulcerative white spots; the spots are
> isolated patches of 
> bleached polyps which can progress to tissue loss. 
> It is infectious and can 
> cause significant mortality. What is being referred
> to as "Line Disease" may 
> be what we are now calling Pigmentation Response: it
> is not an infectious 
> disease, but it seems to be a stress-related response
> to a number of things, 
> included activities by boring vermetid snails,
> macroalgal abrasion, silt 
> deposition abrasion and possibly certain fish bites.
> I can't tell this without pictures, of course, but this name has been
> used in the past to  describe what we now refer to as PR.
> Laurie Raymundo
> Dr. Laurie J. Raymundo
> Coral Ecologist
> University of Guam Marine Laboratory
> UOG Station
> Mangilao, Guam 96923
> Tel: (671) 735-2184
> Fax: (671) 734-6767

> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Thomas
> Goreau
> Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2007 10:55 PM
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Porites Line Disease
> Far and away the most common disease syndrome in the Indo-Pacific is  
> what I call Porites Line Disease, which has many forms and is very  
> widespread and abundant, affecting primarily massive Porites, but  
> also branching species. The white or grey lines are by far the most  
> common, followed by brown, pink, and blue. I first noticed this  
> disease in the Marshall Islands in 1997, and since then have noticed  
> it on every single dive in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. I have  
> pointed it out to local researchers almost everywhere, only a few of  
> whom had noticed it. I have not had the time, money, hardware, or  
> software to grab or tabulate the thousands of video images I have  
> taken of it all across the Indo-Pacific, or formally described it in  
> a paper. Although I am not aware of any publications on this  
> syndrome, I know that several researchers have followed its progress  
> at specific sites, and may have published descriptions, but I am not  
> sure what they have called it.
> PLD is distinguished by a narrow line of necrotic tissue, usually  
> around a millimeter wide, which separates live from dead tissue. The  
> color of the line can vary between white, grey, brown, pink, blue, or
> purple. The disease advances on the order of centimeters per month or

> more, as can be seen in the fact that in many cases, the height of  
> the living tissue (which grows upward at around one centimeter per  
> year is not much higher than the dead surface). The pink line variant
> was independently discovered and has been described in published  
> papers in India as Pink Line Disease by Ravindran and the Raghukumars
> who isolated a fungus from samples in Lakshadweep (where it was the  
> most common variant, and where I looked at with Ravindran in 1998),  
> but they did not look at other color variants, and it is not clear if
> the fungi is a primary pathogen or a secondary opportunist. Because I
> work with no funding I have never been able to take microbiological  
> samples for genetic sequence analysis, so I do not know if each of  
> these many different color lines are different manifestations of the  
> same basic disease, or if each is associated with different  
> pathogens. Much microbiological work is clearly needed.
> What is especially alarming about this disease is that although it is
> much slower and affects many less species than White Plague (or what  
> some call White Syndrome when they can't find Aurantimonas  
> coralicida), it is progressively killing the species that are the  
> major survivors of all habitats that have been severely stressed,  
> whether by bleaching or sedimentation. People should be aware of this
> and look out for it.
> Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
> President
> Global Coral Reef Alliance
> 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
> 617-864-4226
> goreau at bestweb.net
> http://www.globalcoral.org

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