Biogeochemical conditions determine virulence of black band disease in corals

Glas, Martin S., Sato, Yui, Ulstrup, Karin E., and Bourne, David G. (2012) Biogeochemical conditions determine virulence of black band disease in corals. ISME Journal: multidisciplinary journal of microbial ecology, 6 (8). pp. 1526-1534.

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The microenvironmental dynamics of the microbial mat of black band disease (BBD) and its less virulent precursor, cyanobacterial patch (CP), were extensively profiled using microsensors under different light intensities with respect to O₂, pH and H₂S. BBD mats exhibited vertical stratification into an upper phototrophic and lower anoxic and sulphidic zone. At the progression front of BBD lesions, high sulphide levels up to 4977 mu M were measured in darkness along with lower than ambient levels of pH (7.43 ± 0.20). At the base of the coral-BBD microbial mat, conditions were hypoxic or anoxic depending on light intensity exposure. In contrast, CP mats did not exhibit strong microchemical stratification with mostly supersaturated oxygen conditions throughout the mats at all light intensities and with levels of pH generally higher than in BBD. Two of three replicate CP mats were devoid of sulphide, while the third replicate showed only low levels of sulphide (up to 42 μM) present in darkness and at intermediate light levels. The level of oxygenation and sulphide correlated well with lesion migration rates, that is virulence of the mats, which were greater in BBD than in CP. The results suggest that biogeochemical microgradients of BBD shaped by the complex microbial community, rather than a defined pathogen, are the major trigger for high virulence and the associated derived coral mortality of this disease.

Item ID: 23184
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1751-7370
Keywords: BBD, CP, pathogen, microsensor, anoxia, sulphide
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2012 05:27
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 100%
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