[Coral-List] Strange algae reported by divers

Elizabeth Wood ewood at f2s.com
Fri Mar 1 19:28:56 EST 2013

Hello listers,

This looks suspiciously like a species of invasive sponge that we have 
recorded from Sabah (East Malaysia) where it was particularly prevalent on a 
shallow reef that had suffered coral mortality as a result of fish bombing 
and / or coral bleaching / COTs predation.

At its peak in 2000, cover by this sponge was around 37% but monitoring 
since then has shown a significant year-by-year reduction in cover and a 
recent survey revealed that it has all but disappeared. Bare limestone has 
been left in its place - showing erosion rather than coral recruitment 
possibly because of high populations of Diadema.

Interestingly, this sponge had the capacity to spread rapidly over dead 
coral or other uncolonised hard surfaces, but not to out-compete live coral.

We have worked with sponge specialists on identification and it appears that 
it is a new species of Chondrosia - paper in preparation.

Best regards,

Liz Wood

Dr Elizabeth Wood,
Marine Conservation Society, UK

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bastiaan Vermonden" <bastiaan.vermonden at gmail.com>
To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 6:57 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] Strange algae reported by divers

> Dear Coral-listers
> I just came across this question in a linkedin discussion group and
> thought
> I could pose the question here:
> "
> *Need help identifying this strange black algae looking species growing on
> corals in the Philippines. *
> This picture was sent to myself as the regional Coordinator of Green fins.
> We often get our members sending in strange e-mails but this one has
> really
> got us stuck. It is very fast growing and resembles a smothering blanket
> that is covering coral reefs in the Philippines. It is starting to concern
> many divers who are seeing more and more of it specifically in the
> Moalboal
> region of Cebu.
> http://greenfins.net/Content/Uploads/Unknown%20black%20species.jpg?goback=%2Egmr_49850%2Egde_49850_member_218294623
> "
> Maybe someone from the coral list is familiar with this phenomena?
> Regards,
> Bastiaan Vermonden
> http://diveselector.com
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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