Rüdiger Siek ruediger.siek at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 12:14:37 EDT 2016

Dear Sarah,

I disagree with the high salinity theory.
High salinity causes procedural decease, not all at one time!
And also they would have found bleached corals first.

A friend of mine had a blackout on her reef tank during summer 2014 for at
least 3 days (she was on vacation) and this was exactly what happened.
All corals and invertebrates died, the water was a bit milky, there was a
light yellow / white mat on several live rock and also on the corals
(probably bacteria) and the water smelled terrible like rotten.
I think this was also due to anoxic zones in the tank (no water movement,
no gas exchange on the surface...).


Am 28.07.2016 17:15 schrieb "sarah davies" <daviessw at gmail.com>:

Hi Steve,

Since the crew has access to EtOH I would collect tissue (if possible try
to keep species separate, although this sounds difficult) and preserve
immediately in sterile tubes in EtOH. I collect samples separately in small
labeled ziplock bags. Then I would remove the first EtOH and replace it
with fresh EtOH to ensure the highest concentration. Then keep as cold as
possible. I have had good success with RNAseq analyses using this method
although I worry about bottom time and safety stops since transcript levels
can shift in as little as 10 mins. If Marissa is on board she has collected
microsamples from coral colonies for me in the past so she should remember
the procedure.

The first two studies that I think would be interesting and feasible given
their constraints are:

1. Transcriptomes of infected and (seemingly) uninfected individuals.
Collect some (if there are any) healthy colony tissue so that you could
compare the sick vs healthy individuals. If you do not have a control it
will be difficult to make any comparisons with transcripomics. I would
shoot for at least an N=5 of each healthy/infected/species if possible,
anything less will make it difficult to detect a signature.

2. Microbiome analysis of these same samples described and the mat on the
ocean floor Emma described to see if there is a correlation in sick
individuals and the mat.

The nice thing is that if the samples are preserved in EtOH, they can be
used for both purposes.

The one random thought I had was perhaps some really high salinity water
was somehow pressed to the surface? I have no idea if this would even be

I hope this helps in some way and I would be happy to help out in any way
that I can.


On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:16 AM, Judith Lang <jlang at riposi.net> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> A nightmare indeed; condolences from all of us who treasure the Flower
> Garden Bank reefs.
> Although 86F (30C) isn’t extravagently high, I think this is about the
> annual warmest temperature on the banks and, if so, it might already be
> above the seasonal average for mid-summer.
> Lynton Land (my husband) immediately asked if the Gulf dead zone might
> have impacted this area. Told him I’m pretty sure the banks are too far
> offshore to be under its influence, but weather patterns over the
> have been unusual this year, so maybe that’s another straw at which to
> grasp….At least a NOAA vessel should be tracking its movements around the
> Gulf this week (http://www.noaa.gov/average-
> ‘dead-zone’-gulf-mexico-predicted).
> Les,
> Please quickly clarify how to preserve affected tissues for metagenomic
> analyses for Emma and her team.
> Judy
> Judy Lang
> AGRRA Scientific Coordinator
> > On Jul 28, 2016, at 9:45 AM, Kaufman, Leslie S <lesk at bu.edu> wrote:
> >
> > Hey Bill.
> >
> > Oh, wow- the nightmare. It’s like when something bad afoot finally
> reaches out to an actual family member.
> >
> > OK.
> >
> > Emma and GP- beside what you’d already mentioned, I suggest preserving
> affected tissues for metagenomic analysis (DNA and mRNA).  We do not have
> to run them, but as the situation clarifies, sequence and transcriptomic
> data could be clinchers.
> >
> > It doesn’t sound like temperature, but of course thermal data will be
> important- if there are loggers out might be wise to download them just to
> make sure the data are secure.
> >
> > Might be worth talking to Esther Peters for instructions on histological
> preservation, but since this is a cross-taxon mass-kill most of the
> pathology will likely just indicate (superficially) that the critters are
> sick and dying, not necessarily how come.
> >
> > I think a brief moratorium during close monitoring are justified as a
> cautionary move.  This won’t be fun.
> >
> > There has not been any oil spotted in the area, right?  Because that is
> one thing that this sounds like.  Have there ever been seeps observed
> actually within the reef caps on either E or W?  Grasping at straws here….
> >
> > Les
> >
> >
> >
> > Les Kaufman
> > Professor of Biology
> > Boston University Marine Program
> > Faculty Fellow, Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future
> > and
> > Conservation Fellow
> > Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science
> > Conservation International
> > lesk at bu.edu <mailto:lesk at bu.edu>
> >
> >
> >
> > On Jul 28, 2016, at 9:17 AM, William Precht <william.precht at gmail.com
> <mailto:william.precht at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> >> This made me ill while reading:-(
> >>
> >> Sent from my iPhone
> >>
> >> Begin forwarded message:
> >>
> >>> From: James Hendee <jim.hendee at noaa.gov <mailto:jim.hendee at noaa.gov>>
> >>> Date: July 28, 2016 at 6:30:36 AM EDT
> >>> To: Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>>
> >>>
> >>> Greetings,
> >>>
> >>>    Dr. Gittings' message was incorrectly formatted (image was
> >>> attached), but due to the emergency nature of the message, I am
> >>> this for him.  Please note this is from him, and to contact him for
> >>> feedback (i.e., not me).
> >>>
> >>>    Thanks!
> >>>    Jim
> >>>
> >>> Subject:
> >>> From:
> >>> Steve Gittings - NOAA Federal <steve.gittings at noaa.gov <mailto:
> steve.gittings at noaa.gov>>
> >>> Date:
> >>> 7/27/16, 5:08 PM
> >>>
> >>> To:
> >>> "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>>,
> >>> Cheryl Woodley - NOAA Federal <cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov <mailto:
> cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov>>, _NOS ONMS
> >>> Leadership Team <onmslt at noaa.gov <mailto:onmslt at noaa.gov>>, _NOS ONMS
> Conservation Science
> >>> Division <onmscsd at noaa.gov <mailto:onmscsd at noaa.gov>>, nmsprc at noaa.gov
> <mailto:nmsprc at noaa.gov>, Ed Levine - NOAA Federal
> >>> <ed.levine at noaa.gov <mailto:ed.levine at noaa.gov>>, Lisa Symons <
> Lisa.Symons at noaa.gov <mailto:Lisa.Symons at noaa.gov>>, Edward
> >>> Lindelof - NOAA Federal <edward.lindelof at noaa.gov <mailto:
> edward.lindelof at noaa.gov>>, Bill Goodwin - NOAA
> >>> Federal <Bill.Goodwin at noaa.gov <mailto:Bill.Goodwin at noaa.gov>>, Bill
> Precht <bill.precht at noaa.gov <mailto:bill.precht at noaa.gov>>,
> >>> "Boland, Gregory S" <Gregory.Boland at boem.gov <mailto:
> Gregory.Boland at boem.gov>>, William Kiene
> >>> <william.kiene at noaa.gov <mailto:william.kiene at noaa.gov>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> I just got a call from Emma Hickerson, Research Coordinator for the
> >>> Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.  She's on the East
> Flower
> >>> Garden Bank and reports what appears to be an unprecedented mass
> >>> of numerous species of at least corals, sea urchins, brittle stars,
> >>> sponges over a large area.  She says large mats of tissue are
> >>> off and there appear to be large bacterial mats on the bottom.  Large
> >>> amounts of material and haze in the water is making for virtually zero
> >>> visibility in some places.  Water temperature is 86F.  She isn't
> certain
> >>> of areal coverage, but believes it to be affecting the areas
> >>> at least three mooring buoys (4, 5, and 6).  I believe these buoys are
> >>> about 100 m from one another.  She did not see it at Buoy 2 (the
> >>> long-term monitoring study site), which is on the east edge of the
> >>> a similar distance away.  They will continue survey and do random
> >>> to determine the extent.
> >>>
> >>> 1) Emma would like advice on collection and preservation of
> >>> They have ethanol, formalin, and freezer space on board, but I don't
> >>> know about other details (jars, etc.)
> >>>
> >>> 2) Does anyone believe that an emergency closure is warranted to
> >>> spread of the problem by divers, or for any other reason?
> >>>
> >>> 3) They are disinfecting dive gear, I believe with a vinegar
> >>> Any additional suggestions on better or additional protocols?
> >>>
> >>> Thanks very much for any advice.  I can pass it along to the field
> >>> via sat phone.
> >>>
> >>> Steve
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Dr. Steve Gittings, Science Coordinator
> >>> NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
> >>> 1305 East West Hwy., N/ORM62
> >>> Silver Spring, MD  20910
> >>> (240) 533-0708 (w), (301) 529-1854 (c)
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> Coral-List mailing list
> >>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> >>> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list <
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list>
> >
> _______________________________________________
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Sarah W. Davies M.Sc. Ph.D.
Simons Foundation Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Marine Sciences
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
daviessw at gmail.com
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