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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    First report of yellow-banded tissue loss disease on coral reefs outside the Arabian/Persian Gulf

    Murugan Selva Bharath*, Rethnaraj Chandran, Greta Aeby, Ramasamy Senthilkumaran, Kamaraj Ramkumaran, Velukaval Perumal Pillai Thanappan, Nandini Ray Chaudhury, Chowdula Satyanarayana

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Coral disease is a major cause of coral reef degradation yet many diseases remain understudied. Yellow-banded tissue loss disease (YBTLD) has a distinct gross lesion morphology and has only been reported from the Arabian/Persian Gulf and little else is known about the ecology of the disease. We report on the first occurrence of yellow-banded tissue loss disease outside of the Arabian/Persian Gulf at two sites (Laku Point, Narara Reef) within the Gulf of Kachchh (GoK) located on the northwest side of India. At Narara reef, YBTLD was observed at 12 out of 24 transects with an average prevalence of 4.7 ± 1.3%. At Laku Point, YBTLD was observed at 19 out of 24 transects with an average prevalence of 5.4±1%. Four out of 15 coral genera within transects had signs of YBTLD and included Goniopora, Dipsastraea, Lobophyllia and Turbinaria. Lobophyllia and Turbinaria had the highest susceptibility to the disease with prevalence significantly higher than expected based on their abundance on the reefs. The distribution and prevalence of YBTLD in GoK was higher than coral reefs in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Kachchh is an extreme environment for coral reefs with both natural stressors (high salinities, strong, seasonal storm activities, and extreme tides) and anthropogenic pollutants from industrial, mining, agricultural and domestic activities. These poor environmental conditions may help explain the high occurrence of YBTLD on GoK reefs.