The urgent need for robust coral disease diagnostics

Pollock, F. Joseph, Morris, Pamela J., Willis, Bette L., and Bourne, David G. (2011) The urgent need for robust coral disease diagnostics. PLoS Pathogens, 7 (10). e1002183. pp. 1-10.

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Coral disease has emerged over recent decades as a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems, with declines in coral cover and diversity of Caribbean reefs providing an example of the potential impacts of disease at regional scales. If similar trends are to be mitigated or avoided on reefs worldwide, a deeper understanding of the factors underlying the origin and spread of coral diseases and the steps that can be taken to prevent, control, or reduce their impacts is required. In recent years, an increased focus on coral microbiology and the application of classic culture techniques and emerging molecular technologies has revealed several coral pathogens that could serve as targets for novel coral disease diagnostic tools. The ability to detect and quantify microbial agents identified as indicators of coral disease will aid in the elucidation of disease causation and facilitate coral disease detection and diagnosis, pathogen monitoring in individuals and ecosystems, and identification of pathogen sources, vectors, and reservoirs. This information will advance the field of coral disease research and contribute knowledge necessary for effective coral reef management. This paper establishes the need for sensitive and specific molecular-based coral pathogen detection, outlines the emerging technologies that could serve as the basis of a new generation of coral disease diagnostic assays, and addresses the unique challenges inherent to the application of these techniques to environmentally derived coral samples.

Item ID: 20167
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1553-7374
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© 2011 Pollock et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2012 05:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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