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Title: Australian subtropical white syndrome: a transmissible, temperature-dependent coral disease
Contributor(s): Dalton, Steve James  (author)orcid ; Godwin, Scott Edward (author); Smith, Stephen D (author); Pereg, Lily  (author)
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1071/MF09060
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Abstract: Since 2000, a disease displaying white-syndrome characteristics has been observed affecting corals from the genus 'Turbinaria' in the Solitary Islands Marine Park, New South Wales, Australia. Recently termed Australian subtropical white syndrome, this disease is transmissible through direct contact and by a predatory vector, but transmission through the water column has not been observed. In aquarium experiments, progressive tissue loss, extending from the region where healthy 'Turbinaria mesenterina' fragments were in direct contact with samples of diseased coral, was noted in 66% of treatments. No tissue loss occurred in any of the controls or when healthy fragments were not in direct contact with diseased corals. Field experiments confirmed that the disease was infectious through direct contact. Further experiments showed that the rate of tissue loss was significantly higher when corals were exposed to summer temperatures (26°C). These results suggest that temperature increases predicted in most climate change models could lead to the loss of dominant coral species, displacing other organisms that rely on corals for food and shelter. Finally, the present study showed that removal of the disease margin provides a management tool to minimise coral tissue loss during an epizootic.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Marine and Freshwater Research, 61(3), p. 342-350
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISSN: 1323-1650
Field of Research (FOR): 060504 Microbial Ecology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960402 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Coastal and Estuarine Environments
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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