DAO 69:9-21 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao069009

Coral disease dynamics in the central Philippines

Longin T. Kaczmarsky1,2,*

1Silliman University Marine Laboratory, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, 6200 Philippines
2Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, Florida 33199, USA

ABSTRACT: Limited quantitative research has been conducted on coral disease in the Philippines and baseline data are much needed. Field surveys for prevalence and distribution patterns were conducted from November 2002 to August 2003. Sites included the islands of Negros, Cebu, Siquijor, Panglao, Olango, Sumilon, Bantayan, Pescador, Balicassag and Palawan. In 154 belt transects, 10026 Porites colonies were examined at 28 sites covering 3080 m2. Two syndromes, Porites ulcerative white spot (PUWS) and coral tumors, occurred at high prevalence. Tumors as high as 39.1% occurred among massive Porites, and PUWS was as high as 53.7% among massive and branching Porites. In 8 mo, 116 tagged colonies showed slow progression and low mortality. Along a 41 km human impact gradient centered on Dumaguete City (Negros), 15 sites were examined. Correlation analyses linked higher disease prevalence to anthropogenic influence (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient [rs] = –0.54, p = 0.04 for tumors and rS = –0.69, p = 0.005 for PUWS). In most sites disease prevalence was lower than in the sites near Dumaguete. High PUWS prevalence near uninhabited Sumilon Island appeared to be linked to the highly diseased reefs near Dumaguete City due to transmission of disease along a cross-shelf front formed between the Tañon Strait and Bohol Sea. Other observations included 12 potential new host species for PUWS (4 new genera and 1 octocorallia) and 5 likely new hosts for black band disease (BBD) in the Philippines, and a relatively high prevalence (7.8%) of BBD in 1 site in western Palawan.

KEY WORDS: Coral disease · Philippines · Coral tumors · Indo-Pacific · Gradient study · Porites · Disease prevalence · Porites ulcerative white spot syndrome

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