DAO 90:85-92 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02213

Coral immunology and resistance to disease

K. C. Reed1,*, E. M. Muller2, R. van Woesik2

11651 Country Walk Drive, Orange Park, Florida 32003, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, Florida 32901, USA

ABSTRACT: Scleractinian corals (phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa) have innate immunological responses against infections. Research has recently suggested that corals also possess an adaptive-like immunological repertoire that recognizes specific pathogens and allografts. While evolutionarily distinct, the corals’ innate and adaptive-like immunity systems are not mutually exclusive because the phagocytic cells of the non-specific, innate immune system may activate specific adaptive immunological responses. Warming oceans may immunocompromise coral hosts, making them more susceptible to tropical marine diseases, independent of the virulence of the pathogen. The ability of corals to ward off both primary and opportunistic infections, through adaptive-like mechanisms, may play a critical role in the corals’ ability to fight future disease infection. Here we show evidence that corals possess immunological repertoires that extend well beyond simple innate defenses. The extent to which corals have developed such an adaptive-like immune repertoire will determine whether corals will survive climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances.


KEY WORDS: Coral · Anthozoan genome · Coral immunology · Holobiont · Coral amoebocytes · Symbionts · Compromised-host hypothesis · Acropora millepora


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Cite this article as: Reed KC, Muller EM, van Woesik R (2010) Coral immunology and resistance to disease. Dis Aquat Org 90:85-92. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02213

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