But that's exactly what yellow band disease (YBD) is—a bacterial infection that sickens coral colonies. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues have found that YBD seems to be getting worse with global warming and announced that they've identified the bacteria responsible for the disease.
Just as a doctor can diagnose a child with chicken pox by the small, round bumps on her skin, you can tell a coral with yellow band disease (YBD) by its own characteristic markings. This affliction etches a swath of pale-yellow or white lesions along the surface of an infected coral colony. The discolored band is a mark of death, indicating where the bacterial infection has killed the coral's photosynthetic symbionts, called zooxanthellae. The coral host suffers from cellular damage and starves without its major energy source, and usually does not recover.
In a paper published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology (JAM), lead author James Cervino, a guest investigator in the WHOI Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry department, and his colleagues report isolating the bacteria that cause YBD: a group of four new Vibrio species, which combine with existing Vibrio on the coral to attack the zooxanthellae. This is the first demonstration that the same bacterial culprits are to blame for the disease throughout the Caribbean as well as half way around the world in Indonesia.
The broad distribution of the core group of Vibrio also helps explain the expanding incidence of YBD throughout the world's tropical oceans, Cervino says. The JAM study documents YBD infection in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. According to Cervino, "In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, the Caribbean, YBD is one of the most threatening coral diseases."
The Vibrio bacteria that cause YBD are part of a family with a reputation for disease. "What we have are coral pathogens that are genetically close to shellfish pathogens," Cervino says. For example, one of the Vibrio bacteria found in corals also causes infections in prawns, shrimp, and crabs. The bacteria are also distantly related to Vibrio cholera, the pathogen that causes human cholera epidemics. There is no known danger to humans from YBD, however.
Cervino and colleagues grew Vibrio pathogens together with healthy coral. They found that YBD infection occurs at normal ocean temperatures, but that warmer temperatures made the disease even more virulent. Cervino explains, "Contrary to what many experts have assumed, this disease occurs independently of warming temperatures." However, when the temperatures go up and the corals are already infected, the infection becomes more lethal. "Thermal stress and pathogenic stress are a double-whammy for the organism," emphasizes Cervino. With the Vibrio core group occurring in tropical oceans all over the world and water temperatures on the rise, he says, the prognosis for corals and the spread of YBD is rather grim.
Media Relations | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Cellular damage > Climate change > Pollution > Vibrio species > Vibrio vulnificus > YBD > Zooxanthellae > bacterial pathogens > coral colonies > coral health > coral reefs > energy source > ocean temperature > over-fishing > photosynthetic symbionts > tropical oceans > yellow band disease
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences