DAO 83:209-222 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02012

Spatial variability in distribution and prevalence of Caribbean scleractinian coral and octocoral diseases. II. Genera-level analysis

Aldo Cróquer*, Ernesto Weil

Dept. of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 908, Lajas 00667, Puerto Rico

ABSTRACT: Geographic assessments of coral/octocoral diseases affecting major reef-building genera and abundant reef species are important to understand their local and geographic spatial-temporal variability and their impact. The status and spatial variability of major Caribbean coral/octocoral diseases affecting important reef-building coral (Montastraea, Diploria, Siderastrea, Stephanocoenia, Porites, and Agaricia) and common, widespread octocoral genera (Gorgonia and Pseudopterogorgia) was assessed along 4 permanent 10 × 2 m band-transects in each of 3 depth habitats (<4, 5–12 and >15 m) on 2 reefs in 6 countries across the wider Caribbean during the summer and fall of 2005. A permutational multivariate analysis of variance was used to test the spatial variability (countries, reef sites and depth habitats) in prevalence of major diseases in these genera. We found a significant interaction of disease prevalence in the different coral and octocoral genera between reef sites and habitats (depth intervals). Montastraea was primarily affected by both white plague (WP-II) and yellow band disease in deep (16.9 ± SE 16% and 16.9 ± SE 2.3%) and intermediate (8.1 ± SE 1.6% and 15.5 ± SE 2.3%) depth habitats of Culebrita (Puerto Rico) and Chub Cut (Bermuda), respectively. Prevalence of multiple diseases simultaneously and other compromised-health problems affecting Montastraea colonies varied between 0.2 to 2% and 0.2 to 1.8%, respectively. Agaricia and Diploria were mostly affected by WP-II (0.5 to 16%), black band disease (0.4 to 5%) and Caribbean ciliate infections (0.2 to 12%). Siderastrea and Stephanocoenia were mainly affected by dark spots disease in Curaçao, with higher prevalence in intermediate (40.5 ± SE 6.2%) and deep (26.6 ± SE 4.2%) habitats. Aspergillosis and other compromised-health conditions affected Gorgonia ventalina (0.2 to 8%) and other common and widespread octocoral genera (1 to 14%), respectively.


KEY WORDS: Coral diseases · Caribbean corals · Octocorals · Wider Caribbean · Distribution


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Cite this article as: Cróquer A, Weil E (2009) Spatial variability in distribution and prevalence of Caribbean scleractinian coral and octocoral diseases. II. Genera-level analysis. Dis Aquat Org 83:209-222. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02012

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