Coral tumor-like growth anomalies induce an immune response and reduce fecundity

Palmer, Caroline V., and Baird, Andrew H. (2018) Coral tumor-like growth anomalies induce an immune response and reduce fecundity. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 130 (1). pp. 77-81.

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Coral growth anomalies (GAs) are chronic diseases that adversely affect organism health and fitness. We investigated immunity and fecundity within and among GA-affected and visually healthy control colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora hyacinthus. Compared to controls, GAs had higher activity of the key immunity enzyme phenoloxidase (PO), suggesting a localised immune response within the GA. Both GAs and healthy tissue of GA-affected colonies had significantly greater total potential PO (tpPO)-PO activity inclusive of the activated latent PO, prophenoloxidase - than control colonies. Higher tpPO activity in GA-affected corals suggests elevated constitutive immunity compared to visually healthy controls. Additionally, fewer GA-affected colonies produced gametes, fewer polyps had oocytes (p < 0.001) and the number of oocytes per polyp was lower. Therefore, GAs in A. hyacinthus might induce, or represent a shift in resource investment towards immunity and away from reproduction. While the effect on population growth is likely to be small, reduced fecundity in GA-affected colonies does suggest a selective pressure against GAs.

Item ID: 55946
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1580
Keywords: coral reefs, fecundity, growth anomaly, Prophenoloxidase, Phenoloxidase, reproduction, tumor, immunity
Copyright Information: © The authors 2018. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 09:57
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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