DAO 114:249-261 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02865

Identification and prevalence of coral diseases on three Western Indian Ocean coral reefs

Mathieu G. Séré1,2,3,*, Pascale Chabanet3, Jean Turquet1, Jean-Pascal Quod1, Michael H. Schleyer

1ARVAM, 2 rue Maxime Rivière, CYROI, Technopole de La Réunion, 97490 Ste Clotilde, Reunion, France
2Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), PO Box 10712, Marine Parade, Durban, 4056 South Africa
3IRD Centre Réunion, CS 41095, 97495 Ste Clotilde, CEDEX Reunion, France
4CRVOI, 2 rue Maxime Rivière, CYROI, Technopole de La Réunion, BP 80005, 97491 Ste Clotilde, Reunion, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Coral diseases have caused a substantial decline in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. To date, more than 30 distinct diseases of scleractinian corals have been reported, which cause progressive tissue loss and/or affect coral growth, reproductive capacity, recruitment, species diversity and the abundance of reef-associated organisms. While coral disease research has increased over the last 4 decades, very little is known about coral diseases in the Western Indian Ocean. Surveys conducted at multiple sites in Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte between August 2010 and June 2012 revealed the presence of 6 main coral diseases: black band disease (BBD), white syndrome (WS), pink line syndrome (PLS), growth anomalies (GA), skeleton eroding band (SEB) and Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Overall, disease prevalence was higher in Reunion (7.5 ± 2.2%; mean ± SE) compared to South Africa (3.9 ± 0.8%) and Mayotte (2.7 ± 0.3%). Across locations, Acropora and Porites were the genera most susceptible to disease. Spatial variability was detected in both Reunion and South Africa, with BBD and WS more prevalent on shallow than deep reefs. There was also evidence of seasonality in 2 diseases: the prevalence of BBD and WS was higher in summer than winter. This was the first study to investigate the ecology of coral diseases, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, on Western Indian Ocean reefs, and surveys should be expanded to confirm these patterns.


KEY WORDS: Coral diseases · Western Indian Ocean · Scleractinian corals · Seasonality · Spatial variability


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Cite this article as: Séré MG, Chabanet P, Turquet J, Quod JP, Schleyer MH (2015) Identification and prevalence of coral diseases on three Western Indian Ocean coral reefs. Dis Aquat Org 114:249-261. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02865

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