DAO 119:153-161 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02980

Caribbean yellow band disease compromises the activity of catalase and glutathione S-transferase in the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata exposed to anthracene

Luis Miguel Montilla1,*, Ruth Ramos2, Elia García2, Aldo Cróquer1

1Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Estudios Ambientales, Laboratorio de Ecología Experimental, Apdo. 89000, Caracas, Venezuela
2Departamento de Biología de Organismos, Laboratorio de Comunidades Marinas. Apdo. 89000, Caracas, Venezuela
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Healthy and diseased corals are threatened by different anthropogenic sources, such as pollution, a problem expected to become more severe in the near future. Despite the fact that coastal pollution and coral diseases might represent a serious threat to coral reef health, there is a paucity of controlled experiments showing whether the response of diseased and healthy corals to xenobiotics differs. In this study, we exposed healthy and Caribbean yellow band disease (CYBD)-affected Orbicella faveolata colonies to 3 sublethal concentrations of anthracene to test if enzymatic responses to this hydrocarbon were compromised in CYBD-affected tissues. For this, a 2-factorial fully orthogonal design was used in a controlled laboratory bioassay, using tissue condition (2 levels: apparently healthy and diseased) and pollutant concentration (4 levels: experimental control, 10, 30 and 100 ppb concentration) as fixed factors. A permutation-based ANOVA (PERMANOVA) was used to test the effects of condition and concentration on the specific activity of 3 enzymatic biomarkers: catalase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase. We found a significant interaction between the concentration of anthracene and the colony condition for catalase (Pseudo-F = 3.84, df = 3, p < 0.05) and glutathione S-transferase (Pseudo-F = 3.29, df = 3, p < 0.05). Moreover, our results indicated that the enzymatic response to anthracene in CYBD-affected tissues was compromised, as the activity of these enzymes decreased 3- to 4-fold compared to healthy tissues. These results suggest that under a potential scenario of increasing hydrocarbon coastal pollution, colonies of O. faveolata affected with CYBD might become more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of chemical pollution.


KEY WORDS: Caribbean yellow band disease · Orbicella faveolata · Enzymatic biomarkers · Anthracene · Catalase · Glutathione S-transferase


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Cite this article as: Montilla LM, Ramos R, García E, Cróquer A (2016) Caribbean yellow band disease compromises the activity of catalase and glutathione S-transferase in the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata exposed to anthracene. Dis Aquat Org 119:153-161. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02980

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