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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 64:181-191 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao064181

Coral diseases on Philippine reefs: genus Porites is a dominant host

Laurie J. Raymundo1,2,*, Kathryn B. Rosell2, Clarissa T. Reboton2, Longin Kaczmarsky3

1Marine Laboratory, University of Guam, UOG Station, Mangilao 96923, Guam
2Silliman University Marine Laboratory, Dumaguete City 6200, Philippines
3Long Island University, Brookville, New York 11548, USA

ABSTRACT: While it is generally assumed that Indo-Pacific reefs are not widely affected by diseases, limited data suggest a number of diseases and syndromes that appear to differ from those currently under study in the Caribbean. This report presents the results of a baseline survey of coral diseases in 2 regions in the Philippines: the Central Visayas and the Lingayen Gulf. Mean prevalence for all diseases observed was 8.3 ± 1.2% (mean ± SE; n = 8 reefs), with Central Visayas reefs showing higher disease prevalence (11.6 ± 2.8%; n = 4 reefs) than those of Lingayen Gulf (5.1 ± 1.4%; n = 4 reefs). Five diseases and syndromes were described; 3 of these—Porites ulcerative white spot disease (PUWS) (prevalence = 8.96 ± 2.2%), tumors (prevalence = 1.0 ± 0.5%) and pigmentation response (prevalence = 0.5 ± 0.2%)—occurred frequently in both regions and targeted the genus Porites. Correlation between disease prevalence and number of Porites colonies was fairly strong (r2 = 43.4), though not significant, and no correlation was seen between prevalence and either the amount or diversity of hard coral. Porites is a major reef-builder in the Indo-Pacific comprising 30% of hard coral colonies on our surveyed reefs, and is generally thought to be a hardy, long-lived genus. Diseases targeting this robust group present an as yet unquantified risk to Philippine reefs and could result in major changes in reef structure.

KEY WORDS: Coral disease · Philippines · Porites · Disease prevalence · Host range · Species diversity

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