[Coral-List] Please somebody, eat these slimy cyanobacteria all over the reefs

Longin Kaczmarsky solonnie at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 22 04:11:14 EST 2008

Dear Tom,    Indeed, "little white worms squirming out" of stockings sound like something much hardier than the tiny delicate (but visible) Beggiatoa-like filaments I've observed. In the lab using a dissecting scope we see the Beggiatoa-like filaments intertwined within the mat of more finely filamentous cyanobacteria, but in nature these large white gliding filaments are very abundant at the interface with the coral below the cyano mat. The particular samples I'm describing were obtained in St. Croix and according to Dr. Richardson are quite a bit larger than the usual BBD Beggiatoa. To more accurately identify them we tried several methods to extract DNA for molecular analysis but haven't succeeded. In whole BBD community analyses we did find some close sequence matches to Beggiatoa spp. However, microscopically they appear to contain intracellular sulfur globules which characterize bacteria previously identified in the literature as Beggiatoa. We did not isolate them in culture, which requires a micro-oxic atmosphere. They are about 20 micrometers or so in width and many are up 1 cm or more in length.                
         Hope that helps clarify things, Longin Kaczmarsky> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 03:00:47 +0000> From: tomgoreau at yahoo.co.uk> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Please somebody, eat these slimy cyanobacteria all over the reefs> To: solonnie at hotmail.com; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; reefteam2 at yahoo.com> > Dear Longin,> > I'm on the road and can't send from my email that the> coral list recognizes, so please forward this to it> with your resonse, Thanks! > > I know Beggiatoa very well, and the work of Laurie> Richardson and colleagues shows its close association> with Phormidium coralyticum in Black Band Disease. The> Broward group collected the cyanobacteria (Lyngbya> confervoides) off the reef where they were killing> corals and gorgonians, and stuffed them into lady's> panty hose, and when they tossed them into the boat,> they found all these little white worms squirming out.> > > Beggiatoa, being an obligate microaerophile, needs> both low oxygen and sulfide to survive, and so avoids> fully aerobic habitats. So it my guess that it was> something else, perhaps nematodes, but who knows? I> hope those involved can see if your photos match what> they saw, describe them more accurately, or provide> samples to someone who can look more closely. > > Best wishes,> Tom> > > > On Jan 21, 2008, at 2:00 PM, Longin Kaczmarsky wrote:> > Hi Todd and Tom,> I've collected many samples of cyanobacteria and> BBD samples off the reefs over the years for> examination in our lab and the "little white worms"> that we regularly see with the samples appear to be> Beggiatoa or Beggiatoa-like bacteria...gliding,> filamentous bacteria actually visible with the naked> eye. I've attached an image of these "worms" overlying> a fresh mat of cyano filaments. As you know, Beggiatoa> (sulfur-oxidizers) are thought to be required in the> BBD consortium and are often abundant in polluted,> nutrient-rich waters. > Lonnie Kaczmarsky, Florida International University> > > From: goreau at bestweb.net> > Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 15:01:33 -0500> > To: reefball at reefball.com> > CC: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> > Subject: [Coral-List] Please somebody, eat these> slimy cyanobacteria all over the reefs> > > > Dear Todd,> > > > I fully agree with you (almost all aquaria except> the very cleanest > > have them), except for these little worms that seem> to thrive in it > > (Nematodes?). But where are they when we really need> them?> > > > You can see cyanobacteria spreading almost> everyplace with known > > nutrient inputs, and it is getting steadily worse> every place I go. > > The top-down herrbivory control folks can't explain> these blooms: > > wherever you find them without an obvious nutrient> source there are > > almost always subtle nutrient sources that you> hadn't yet recognized. > > I use them in many resort areas to tell me exactly> where the septic > > tanks are leaching through the beach or bedrock, for> example in > > resort islands in the Maldives or in front of the> hotels in Bonaire. > > In Southeast Florida they don't only mark the sewage> outfalls: Dan > > Clark has found they allow you to pinpoint precisely> where the deep > > well injected sewage is coming up through cracks in> the overlying > > formations above the 'boulder zone' and starting to> kill reefs from > > the offshore side.> > > > A few years ago in Grand Cayman I found that North> Sound was being > > killed by nutrients leaching from the garbage dump> and golf course > > fertilizers, that the western area in front of 5> Mile Beach had large > > round patches of cyanobacteria on the sand that were> certainly where > > the septic tank drainage was finding its way into> the sea, and that > > the northwest was being killed by weedy algae and> coral diseases > > where all the turtle farm effluent flowed into the> sea, perhaps soon > > to be made worse with captive dolphin poop. And> there were > > cyanobacterial blooms on the staghorn corals on the> south side too. > > There was no place I looked at without an algae> problem. So the > > Department of the Environment decided to cheer me up> with a last dive > > on their very best reefs, far from any human impact,> on the > > northeast. The shoreline was completely free of> weedy algae, but the > > deeper we went to the drop off, the worse the> cyanobacteria blooms > > were. My DOE colleagues were shocked, they had never> seen that before > > at their favorite dive site. I think it was just> their bad luck to > > have taken me there after an upwelling event of> nutrients from below > > the thermocline, which is known to be driven by> seasonal internal > > wave breaking by solitons propagating across the> Caribbean along the > > pycnocline density boundary......> > > > I agree with you, the only way we know to control> them is to starve > > them of nutrients! Unless someone finds a cunning> parasite, virus, > > or other way of killing them economically without> side effects?> > > > Best wishes,> > Tom

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