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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03624

    Spatial and cross-seasonal patterns of coral diseases in Taiwan’s reefs: High prevalence and regional variation

    Ching-Yun Huang, Jiang-Shiou Hwang, Hideyuki Yamashiro, Sen-Lin Tang

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Although research on coral diseases is increasing worldwide, it remains limited in Taiwan. Taiwan is located at the Tropic of Cancer and contains both tropical and subtropical reefs. This study conducted spatial and cross-seasonal surveys were conducted in Taiwan in 2018 and 7 types of disease and nondisease lesions and 6 potential factors influencing coral health were identified. The overall mean prevalence of disease and nondisease lesions varied considerably across the reef regions, and host susceptibility differed among the coral taxa. The overall mean prevalence of disease and nondisease lesions was highest in Kenting (8.58% ± 1.81%) and lowest on the Southern Islands (2.12% ± 0.73%). Although the prevalence of diseases did not differ significantly between the seasons, cyanobacteria-related diseases—including black band disease (BBD), BBD-like syndrome, and other cyanobacteria syndrome—were slightly more prevalent in autumn than in spring. Furthermore, 3 of the potential factors (i.e., turf algae, bioeroding sponges, and coral bleaching) were strong predictors of disease and nondisease lesion prevalence. These results advance the understanding of coral disease ecology in Taiwan’s reefs and highlight the need for further research on the correlation between disease, host, and environment.