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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 124:77-84 (2017)  -  DOI:

Health status of corals surrounding Kish Island, Persian Gulf

Mahsa Alidoost Salimi1, Pargol Ghavam Mostafavi1, Seyyed Mohammad Reza Fatemi1, Greta S. Aeby2,*

1Department of Marine Biology, Graduate School of Marine Science and Technology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
2Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, PO Box 1346, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Corals in the Persian Gulf exist in a harsh environment with extreme temperature and salinity fluctuations. Understanding the health of these hardy corals may prove useful for predicting the survival of other marine organisms facing the impacts of global climate change. In this study, the health state of corals was surveyed along belt transects at 4 sites on the east side of Kish Island, Iran. Corals had a patchy distribution, low colony densities and species diversity, and were dominated by Acropora, Porites, and Dipsastrea. We found chronic sedimentation on corals, a high prevalence of old partial mortality, abundant bioeroders, and overgrowth of corals by sponges and bryozoans. These are all signs indicating suboptimal environmental conditions for coral reefs. Four types of tissue loss lesions consistent with disease were found: Porites multi-focal chronic tissue loss, Porites peeling tissue loss, Porites focal chronic tissue loss, and Dipsastrea focal sub-acute tissue loss. Overall disease prevalence was 3.6% and there were significant differences in prevalence among the 3 most abundant coral genera. Acropora was numerically dominant within transects yet showed no signs of disease, whereas Porites had a 14% disease prevalence, indicating differential susceptibility to disease among genera. Other coral lesions included pigmentation response in Porites associated with algae invasion or boring organisms, sponge overgrowth, and mucus sheathing in Dipsastrea. The Persian Gulf region is understudied, and this represents one of the first quantitative surveys of coral health and disease on these reefs.

KEY WORDS: Coral disease · Persian Gulf · Coral lesions · Porites tissue loss diseases

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Cite this article as: Alidoost Salimi M, Mostafavi PG, Fatemi SMR, Aeby GS (2017) Health status of corals surrounding Kish Island, Persian Gulf. Dis Aquat Org 124:77-84.

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