Acute tissue death (white syndrome) affects the microenvironment of tabular Acropora corals

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Journal Article
Aquatic Biology, 2010, 10 (1), pp. 99 - 104
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White syndrome (WS) is a collective term for coral diseases that cause acute tissue loss, resulting in apparently healthy tissue bordering on exposed skeleton. In this study, the microenvironmental condition and tissue structure of WS-affected tabular acroporid corals were assessed by O2 microelectrodes and histological techniques. The high spatial resolution of the microelectrode measurements enabled an evaluation of the extent of physiological changes at, and 2 cm away from, the WS border. Respiration of the coral host was decreased on the skeletonâtissue border but was comparable to that of healthy corals only 2 cm away from the border. Histological data, however, showed a decrease in mesogloea thickness on and 2 cm away from the WS border, which correlates with a previously observed allocation of photoassimilates away from the WS border. We suggest that there are colony-wide negative effects of WS which affect only the host physiology and, as disparate etiologies are evident in WS, these must be distinguished through the utilization of a multiple tool approach.
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