Abstract of the Presentation

Beth Lorence ě°˝€™08

— Beth Lorence ‘08

Assistant Professor James Cervino, PhD

— Assistant Professor James Cervino, PhD

“Identification of a consortium of closely related Vibrio species and the links between thermal stress, coral reef and shell-fish diseases” Abstract:

J.M. Cervino1, E.A. Lorence2, F. L. Thompson3, Bruno Gómez-Gil4, T. J. Goreau5, G.W. Smith6, R. L. Hayes7

Vibrionic Yellow Band Disease (YBD) has been responsible for outbreaks in different types of reef building corals worldwide. Yet little is known about its ethyology, epizooty and environmental triggers. The aim of this study is to obtain a better understanding of YBD processes. The majority of the isolates obtained from diseased Caribbean and Pacific coral specimens were allocated the so called Vibrio core group, i.e. V. alginolyticus, V. harveyi, V. rotiferianus, V. proteolyticus, and a putative group of novel Vibrio species. The species of vibrios associated with Yellow blotch-band disease (YBD) found in Indo-Pacific corals demonstrate a very close similarity to Vibrio pathogens of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys in different genera of corals. Rep-PCR showed distinct genomic groups between the bacterial strains of the Caribbean and Pacific.

Laboratory experiments combining thermal stress and Vibrio infection showed in-situ lysis of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae possibly by means of proteases produced by the vibrios isolated. However, infection of healthy corals is independent of thermal stress and can occur in ambient water conditions depending upon geographic location. Cell cycle mitotic division rates are impaired in as much as 80-90% in diseased infected specimens. Cytological analyses of zooxanthellae treated with Vibrio show a decline in photosynthetic chlorophyll pigments and cell size, that were exposed to higher temperatures. These data suggest that thermally-stressed symbiotic algae together with Vibrio infection have a severe effect on Scleractinian corals in the tropics.

  1. Corresponding Address: Woods Hole Oceanographic Department of Geochemistry, Woods Hole, MA 02540 & Pace University, Department of Biology and Health Sciences, 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038.
  2. Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038.
  3. Department of Genetics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Ilha do Fundão Caixa Postal 68011, CEP 21944-970, RJ, Brazil.
  4. CIAD, A.C. Mazatlan Unit for Aquaculture, Mazatlan, Mexico.
  5. University of South Carolina, Aiken, SC
  6. Global Coral Reef Alliance, Cambridge, MA
  7. College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, D.C.