Coral Diseases and Pathogens and their Effect on Marine Life Draft #1 (I forgot to add the first part)

This topic submitted by Valerie Nesser ( at 12:41 PM on 5/14/07.

Jeremy enters the bowels of Lighthouse Cave, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Coral Reefs are the backbone of life under water, and are often dubbed as a keystone species—a species that many other species rely on in an ecosystem. Being such an integral part to marine life, the fate of corals can also result in the fate of many other aquatic species. Because of coral’s significance, it is important to note the various diseases effecting coral. With the information provided in this discussion/paper, hopefully the class will be able to recognize coral health and disease during the field experiences, and understand the consequences these diseases may be causing.

I. Introduction

II. How diseases effect and organism
a. life span
b. abundance
c. distribution
d. Metabolism/nutrition needs
e. Growth
f. Reproduction
g. Competition
h. Tolerance to stress

III. Coral Reef Fragility

IV. Classifying ŮDiseaseÓ
a. Coral BleachingĄA disease?
i. Consider one definition of Ůdisease:Ó ŮDisease are usually characterized (1) as an identifiable group of signs (observed anomalies indicative of disease), and / or (2) a recognized etiologic or causal agent, and / or (3) consistent structural alterations (e.g. developmental disorders, changes in cellular composition or morphology, and tumors)Ó (Dr.Arnfried Antonius).
b. Opportunistic pathogens
i. Weakens coral species/decreases stress resistance

V. Types of coral diseases effecting the Caribbean
a. Abiotic vs. biotic coral diseases
b. Black Band Disease (BBD)
c. Coralline Algal Diseases
d. Coralline Lethal Disease / Syndrome (CLD/S)
e. Coralline Lethal Orange Disease (CLOD)
f. Dark Spot Disease / Syndrome (DSD/S)
g. Red Band Syndrome (RBS)
h. Shut Down Reaction (SDR)
i. Abiotically induced Tissue Bleaching (TBL)
j. Biotically Induced Tissue Bleaching (TBL)
k. Tumors (TUM)
l. Neoplasia
m. Hyperplasia
n. White Band Disease (WBD)
o. White Plague Disease (WPL)
p. White Pox Disease (WPX)
q. Yellow Blotch Disease (YBL)
r. Yellow Band Disease (YBD)

VI. How coral diseases spread
a. Other marine species
b. Reproduction
c. Competition

VII. Effect
a. Ex: rapid decline of sea urchins in Caribbean

VIII. Attempts to stop disease spread and drawbacks
a. AspiratorĄsuck the diseased tissue off coral and dispose on land
b. Coat infected area with cement/clay
i. Both are time consuming and expensive

IX. Conclusion

X. References

Madl, P. (2005, February 10). The Silent Sentinels...The Demise of Tropical Coral Reefs.
Retrieved May 10, 2007, from University of Salzburg, Dept. of Ecology Web site:

Sprung, J., & Delbeek, J. C. (1997). The Reef Aquarium . Coconut Grove, Florida :
Ricordea .

Stafford-Deitsch, J. (1991). Reef: A Safari Through the Coral World . San
Francisco : Sierra Club Books.

Vevers, G. (1971). The Underwater World . New York: St. Martin's Press.

Wells, S., & Hanna, N. (1992). The Greenpeace book of Coral Reefs. New
York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Wood, E. M., Dr. (1983). Corals of the World . United States: T.F.H.
Publications, Inc., Ltd.

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