Coral parasites and predators

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Transcript Coral parasites and predators

What are the most widespread coral
parasites and localized predators,
and what impact do they have on
coral reefs?
Rachael L. Shearouse
• Parasitism: a type of symbiotic relationship
between two organisms in which one
species lives on or in another, drawing
nourishment from that species at its
• Localized predator: a predator who only
feeds on prey within a certain area
Most widespread Parasites and
Localized Predators
• Parasitic Bivalves:
L. simplex
• Localized Predators:
C. violacea
C. abbreviata
Hermodice carunculata
Lithophaga simplex
• Inhabits the scleractinian
coral, Astreopora
myriophtholma, in high
• Consumes large amounts
of coral, leaving hollow
coral skeletons
• May have a slight
mutualistic relationship
(Mokady 1998)
Lithophaga and Fungiacava
• Both geneses have restricted feeding to live corals
• Each species displays host-specificity preventing
competition for the same host
• Increases reef destruction
• Causes bioerosion
Coralliophila violacea
• Outbreaks of 2 to 100’s of snails on
a single coral
• Leave white “scars” which serve as
entrances for boring organisms
• Weaken entire reef
• Localized tissue damage on
margins and interior of reef
• Cause large surface injuries in the
interior of the colony
• Cause the development of new
energy sinks in the interior of the
• Feed on coral by sucking with
(Oren 1998)
Coralliophila abbreviata
• The coral Acropora palmata
is declining with little signs
of recovery in the Caribbean
• Lack of survival is due
largely to predation by C.
• C. abbreviata causes coral
colonies to become remnant
• C. abbreviata has the
potential to inhibit the
recover of A. palmata
(Grober-Dunsmore 2006)
Hermodice carunculata
• Vibrio shiloi is the causative
agent of bleaching in the coral
Oculina patagonica
• V. shiloi can not live on coral in
temperatures lower then 20 ۫C
• H. carunculata acts as a winter
• V. shiloi reproduces inside H.
• When temperatures rise V. shiloi
causes mass bleaching events
(Sussman 2003)
Hermodice carunculata
• Fireworm predation causes
permanent damage to
milleporid hydrocorals
• The open space created by
fireworms is then colonized
by algae
• 97% of the bare space
caused by fireworm feeding
was colonized by algae a
month later
• Consumption of M. complanta
by H. carunculata sufficiently
limits coral growth and
(Witman 1988)
Overall Impacts
Localized coral tissue damage
Large rates of coral consumption
Bioerosion: breakdown of coral reef structure
Cause secondary mortality after hurricanes
and other tropical storms
• Spread coral diseases
Possible Solutions
Restore coral reef trophic levels
Reintroduce predators that feed on these coral parasites
and localized coral predators
Reduce over fishing to bring back natural predators
Marine Protected Areas
Works Cited
Grober-Dunsmore, R., Bonito, V., and Frazer, TK. 2006. Potential inhibitors to
recovery of Acropora palmata populations in St. John, US Virgin Islands. Marine
Ecology-Progress Series 321:123-132
Johnston, L. and Miller, MW. 2007. Variation in life-history traits of the corallivorous
gastropod Coralliophila abbreviata on three coral hosts. Marine Biology 150:12151225.
Kleemann, Karl. 1995. Associations of coral and boring bivalves: Lizard Island (Great
Barrier Reef, Australia) versus Safaga (North Red Sea). Beitraege zur Palaeontologie
Kleemann, KH. 1980. Boring bivalves and their host corals from the Great Barrier
Reef. Journal of Molluscan Studies 46:13-54.
Mokady, O., Y. Loya and B. Lazar. 1998. Ammonium contribution from boring bivalves
to their coral host- a mutualistic symbiosis? Marine Ecology Progress Series 169:295301.
Nybakken, James W. and Mark D. Bertness. Marine Biology: An Ecological Approach
Sixth Edition. Pearson Benjamin Cummings, Inc. San Francisco, CA. 2005. 407-453.
Oren, U., Brickner and Y. Loya. 1998. Prudent sessile feeding by the corallivore snail
Coralliophila violacea on coral energy sinks. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 265:2043-2050.
Sussman, M., Loya, Y., Fine, M., and Rosenberg, E. 2003. The marine fireworm
Hermodice carunculata is a winter reservoir and spring-summer vector for the coral
bleaching pathogen Vibrio shiloi. Environmental Microbiology 5: 250-255.
Witman, JD. 1988. Effects of predation by the fireworm Hermodice carunculata on
milleporid hydrocorals. Bulletin of Marine Science 42:446-458.