Integrated approach to understanding the onset and pathogenesis of black band disease in corals

Sato, Yui, Civiello, Michael, Bell, Sara C., Willis, Bette L., and Bourne, David G. (2016) Integrated approach to understanding the onset and pathogenesis of black band disease in corals. Environmental Microbiology, 18 (3). pp. 752-765.

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Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases are contributing to global declines in coral reef ecosystems, highlighting a growing need for aetiological knowledge to develop effective management strategies. In this review, we focus on black band disease (BBD), one of the most virulent diseases and the only polymicrobial disease so far known to affect corals. A multipartite microbial consortium dominated by Cyanobacteria, but also including sulfur-cycling bacteria, other bacterial groups and members of the Archaea and Eukarya, forms a sulfide-rich anaerobic mat that migrates across the surface of coral colonies, killing the underlying tissues. The polymicrobial nature of the disease challenges classic aetiological approaches to unravelling disease causation. Here, we synthesize current knowledge on the range of pathogens forming the microbial consortium with recent studies on the transmission, biogeochemistry and environmental drivers of BBD to develop a conceptual model of BBD pathogenesis. The model illustrates how the development of BBD virulence factors is linked to a cascade of microbial community shifts and associated functional roles that progressively develop the microbial consortium from comparatively benign cyanobacterial patches to virulent BBD lesions. This review showcases how an approach that integrates multiple key aspects of the disease provides insights essential to elucidating the aetiology of BBD.

Item ID: 47946
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1462-2920
Keywords: coral disease; black band disease; coral reefs
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Australian Research Council (ARC), Mitsubishi Corporation, Earthwatch Institute (EI)
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 06:04
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060503 Microbial Genetics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
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