Microbial Community Analysis of Acropora palmata Mucus Swabs, Water and Sediment Samples from Hawksnest Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Colonies of the scleractinian coral Acropora palmata, listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006, have been monitored in Hawksnest Bay, within Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, from 2004 through 2010 by scientists with the US Geological Survey, National Park Service, and the University of the Virgin Islands. The focus has been on documenting the prevalence of disease, including white band, white pox (also called patchy necrosis and white patches), and unidentified diseases. In an effort to learn more about the pathologies that might be involved with the diseases that were observed, samples were collected from apparently healthy and diseased colonies in July 2009 for analysis. This paper reports the methodologies used to evaluate the microbial community associated with coral mucus, and the changes those communities may undergo in response to disease. The methods are non-invasive, an advantage which eliminates the need to remove coral sections for study, thus preserving our coral reef sanctuaries.
Citation: May, LA, AR Avadanei, CS Rogers, J Miller, and CM Woodley. 2010. Microbial Community Analysis of Acropora palmata Mucus Swabs, Water and Sediment Samples from Hawksnest Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 123 and CRCP 14. 7 pp.
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
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