Indo-Pacific Coral Diseases: Diversity, Impacts and Solutions

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 7214

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT), University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza Della Scienza, 20126 Milan, Italy
2. MaRHE Center (Marine Research and High Education Center), Magoodhoo Island, Faafu Atoll 12030, Maldives
Interests: coral diseases; coral reef ecology; coral restoration; biodiversity; symbiosis; hydrozoans taxonomy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coral reefs are among the most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth. Beautiful and fascinating, unfortunately, they are under increasing threat from multiple stressors, including the spread of diseases. In recent decades, an increasing number of new syndromes and severe disease outbreaks has been described to impact coral reefs worldwide. Disease outbreaks are also expected to intensify, as climate change induced stress along with other anthropogenic activities are likely to accelerate coral susceptibility to disease as well as pathogens abundance and virulence. In particular, thermal stress has been identified as a major trigger for disease, although, human activities may alter reef environment by increasing nutrient availability, organic matter, sewage effluent, introduced chemicals, plastic pollution and tourism.

However, the effort to investigate Indo-Pacific coral diseases has been, until now, disproportionately low, especially considering that the Indo-Pacific hosts 91% of the world’s coral reefs. So far, the cumulative effect is unprecedented, and all the efforts carried out by researchers have not been successful in discovering the relevant agents and taking the appropriate countermeasures. Moreover, few scattered solutions have been proposed to reduce or slow down the progression of many coral diseases, however, most of them have not yielded and effective solution on a global scale yet.

This Special Issue aims to assess the diversity of Indo-Pacific coral diseases, inspiring the description of their etiology, the putative pathogens from morphological and molecular point of view, and the related impacts on coral communities. Moreover, the availability of useful, handy and effective underwater mitigation tools is now the new frontier for alleviate the effects caused by marine diseases. For this reason, we welcome researches focused on the development and testing of mitigation tools and techniques, monitoring protocols and conservation measures. Particular attention will be given to works that use multidisciplinary approaches to in-depth clarify several aspects of coral diseases affecting Indo-pacific coral reefs.

Dr. Simone Montano
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • pathogens
  • invertebrates
  • prevalence & incidence
  • vector & reservoir
  • mortality
  • impacts
  • mitigation tools
  • climate change
  • monitoring protocol
  • ecological assessment

Published Papers (3 papers)

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16 pages, 2130 KiB  
Article
First Report of Diseases and Compromised Health Conditions on Hard Corals around Rodrigues Island, Southwest Indian Ocean
by Shakeel Yavan Jogee, Shivam Gopalsing, Sruti Jeetun, Melanie Ricot, Nawsheen Taleb-Hossenkhan, Sushma Mattan-Moorgawa, Deepeeka Kaullysing, Diah Permata Wijayanti, Beatriz Estela Casareto, Yoshimi Suzuki and Ranjeet Bhagooli
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101086 - 15 Oct 2023
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Abstract
Coral diseases represent a prominent menace to coral reefs and to the associated ecological services they provide to the surrounding coastal communities. Studies on diseases and compromised health conditions (CHCs) on hard corals in the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) are scarce, and their [...] Read more.
Coral diseases represent a prominent menace to coral reefs and to the associated ecological services they provide to the surrounding coastal communities. Studies on diseases and compromised health conditions (CHCs) on hard corals in the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) are scarce, and their consequences are often overlooked. This study aimed to establish the baseline prevalence of diseases and CHC of hard corals around Rodrigues Island. Coral disease and CHC prevalence were visually assessed using 2 m × 50 m belt transects at eight sites around the island. This is the first report of four coral diseases, namely White Plague (WP), White Syndrome (WS), Black Band (BB), and Growth Anomalies (GA), and two CHCs, two forms of Pink Pigmentation Responses (PPR)—Pink Patches (PP) and Pink Line Syndrome (PLS)—observed on six genera of hard corals from the island of Rodrigues. PP on Fungia (15.92 ± 5.65%), followed by the WS on Montipora (4.67 ± 3.72%) and GA on Gardineroseris (4.16 ± 4.16%), so far unreported from the SWIO, were the most prevalent around the island. The least prevalent disease was BB on Montipora (0.13 ± 0.13%). Although the overall disease and CHC prevalence for Rodrigues Island (0.98 ± 0.30%) were much lower than the surrounding islands in the SWIO, the observations of these diseases and CHCs on hard corals and relevant environmental parameters warrant further in-depth characterization to better inform coral reefs management and conservation actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indo-Pacific Coral Diseases: Diversity, Impacts and Solutions)
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4 pages, 721 KiB  
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Widespread Occurrence of Coral Growth Anomalies in the Republic of Maldives
by Chiara Bises, Inga Dehnert, Greta Aeby, Michelle Dennis, Jacopo Gobbato, Jessica Hodge, Miriam Staiger, Federica Siena, Paolo Galli and Simone Montano
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010015 - 25 Dec 2023
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Abstract
In the last decades, there has been a concerning increase in the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks on a global scale, resulting in significant damage to the coral reef ecosystem and biodiversity. Growth anomalies (GAs) have been increasingly observed, with significantly [...] Read more.
In the last decades, there has been a concerning increase in the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks on a global scale, resulting in significant damage to the coral reef ecosystem and biodiversity. Growth anomalies (GAs) have been increasingly observed, with significantly higher occurrences in larger and older coral colonies compared to their smaller counterparts. However, there is a notable lack of knowledge and reports regarding growth anomalies in the Maldivian region. Here, we provide the first evidence of four distinct growth anomalies on three coral species, respectively on Acropora sp., Montipora sp., and Pachyseris speciosa, observed across four different locations across three atolls within the Maldivian Archipelago. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indo-Pacific Coral Diseases: Diversity, Impacts and Solutions)
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12 pages, 7852 KiB  
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Evidence of Coral Diseases, Phase Shift, and Stressors in the Atolls of Lakshadweep Islands, Arabian Sea—With Geographical Notes on Their Occurrence within the Indian EEZ and Contiguous International Waters
by Rocktim Ramen Das, Chemmencheri Ramakrishnan Sreeraj, Gopi Mohan, Nina Tabitha Simon, Purvaja Ramachandran, Ramesh Ramachandran, Pandian Krishnan and Deepak Samuel Vijay Kumar
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030382 - 07 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4064
Abstract
Photographic evidence of some important coral diseases (black band disease, black disease/Terpios hoshinota, white syndrome, pink line syndrome, pink spots, invertebrate galls, skeletal growth anomalies, tissue loss), coral competing sponges, and coral–algal phase shifts (competitive overgrowth of the seaweed Caulerpa spp. [...] Read more.
Photographic evidence of some important coral diseases (black band disease, black disease/Terpios hoshinota, white syndrome, pink line syndrome, pink spots, invertebrate galls, skeletal growth anomalies, tissue loss), coral competing sponges, and coral–algal phase shifts (competitive overgrowth of the seaweed Caulerpa spp. over corals and competitive scleractinian interactions such as with Halimeda spp.) have been collected during field observations in a few atolls within the Lakshadweep archipelago, Arabian Sea. Further, earlier reports of similar diseases and other stressors within the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its contiguous international waters, including the reefs of the Maldives and Sri Lanka, are highlighted and their distributional ranges are shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indo-Pacific Coral Diseases: Diversity, Impacts and Solutions)
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