DAO 97:237-247 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/dao02408

Skeletal structure and progression of growth ­anomalies in Porites australiensis in Okinawa, Japan

Naoko Yasuda1, Yoshikatsu Nakano2, Hideyuki Yamashiro3, Michio Hidaka4,*

1Marine and Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Engineering and Science, and 4Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
2Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, 3422 Sesoko, Motobu, Okinawa 905-0227, Japan
3Department of Bioresources Engineering, Okinawa National College of Technology, 905 Henoko, Nago, Okinawa 905-2192, Japan
*Corresponding author Email:

ABSTRACT: Growth anomalies (GAs), one of the diseases recently reported for scleractinian corals, are characterized by an abnormal skeletal structure and reduced zooxanthella density. The pathological characteristics of GAs were studied in colonies of Porites australiensis on a reef in Kayo, Okinawa, Japan. Corallites in the GA region lost the skeletal architecture characteristic of P. australiensis, and polyp density had decreased in the GAs due to enlargement of both calices and the coenosteum. The gross productivity of isolated GA samples was lower than in healthy samples and decreased to almost 0 within 11 d after isolation. However, when GA samples were brought into contact with healthy-looking samples from the same colony, they fused and both the GA and healthy regions grew. Healthy samples fused with GA samples grew more slowly than those fused with healthy samples. For in situ GAs surrounded by healthy tissue, tissue death usually started at the center of the GA, probably due to a deficiency in the translocated energy supply from the surrounding tissue. The total area of the GA region and the dead area increased at a rate of 5.3 ± 2.9 cm2 yr−1. These results suggest that GA regions are maintained by energy supplies from surrounding healthy tissues and that GAs may have a negative impact on host corals.

KEY WORDS: Coral · Disease · Growth anomaly · Porites australiensis

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Cite this article as: Yasuda N, Nakano Y, Yamashiro H, Hidaka M (2012) Skeletal structure and progression of growth ­anomalies in Porites australiensis in Okinawa, Japan. Dis Aquat Org 97:237-247

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