Predation scars may influence host susceptibility to pathogens: evaluating the role of corallivores as vectors of coral disease

Nicolet, K.J., Chong-Seng, K.M., Pratchett, M.S., Willis, B.L., and Hoogenboom, M.O. (2018) Predation scars may influence host susceptibility to pathogens: evaluating the role of corallivores as vectors of coral disease. Scientific Reports, 8. 5258.

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Abstract

Infectious diseases not regulated by host density, such as vector-borne diseases, have the potential to drive population declines and extinctions. Here we test the vector potential of the snail Drupella sp. and butterflyfish Chaetodon plebeius for two coral diseases, black band (BBD) and brown band (BrB) disease. Drupella transmitted BrB to healthy corals in 40% of cases immediately following feeding on infected corals, and even in 12% of cases 12 and 24 hours following feeding. However, Drupella was unable to transmit BBD in either transmission treatment. In a field experiment testing the vector potential of naturally-occurring fish assemblages, equivalent numbers of caged and uncaged coral fragments became infected with either BrB, BBD or skeletal eroding band, indicating that corallivorous fish were unlikely to have caused transmission. In aquaria, C. plebeius did not transmit either BBD or BrB, even following extended feeding on both infected and healthy nubbins. A literature review confirmed only four known coral disease vectors, all invertebrates, corroborating our conclusion that polyp-feeding fishes are unlikely to be vectors of coral diseases. This potentially because polyp-feeding fishes produce shallow lesions, not allowing pathogens to invade coral tissues. In contrast, corallivorous invertebrates that create deeper feeding scars increase pathogens transmission.

Item ID: 53497
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Funders: Australian Natural History Museum, James Cook University, ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 05:24
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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