• Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo

      Sweet, Michael J.; Wood, Elizabeth; Miller, Jennifer; Bythell, John C.; University of Derby; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Marine Conservation Society, Ross-On-Wye, UK; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (PeerJ Inc., 2015-11-03)
      Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m−2) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m 2) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.
    • The distribution and abundance of black band disease and white syndrome in Kepulauan Seribu, Indonesia

      Bengen, Dietriech Geoffrey; Sweet, Michael J.; Johan, Ofri; Zamani, Neviaty P. Zamani; Suharsono, Suharsono; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2015-10-11)
      Coral diseases that have emerged since the early 1970s have caused significant regional ecological impacts. However, there has been a paucity of research into coral disease in South-East Asia, including Indonesia. This study provides baseline coral disease data in the Kepulauan Seribu Marine National Park. Previously only one type of disease [White syndrome (WS)] has been detected at this site. In this study we show a positive correlation between overall coral cover and the dominant reef building coral Montipora spp. on research sites and found that two main diseases, black band disease (BBD) and WS, were highly prevalent throughout all reefs. Based on spatial location, the highest abundance of BBD (0.08 col./m2) was found at sites nearer (zone 1) to the mainland, whilst for WS (0.05 col./m2) highest abundance was found at middle sites (zone 2). According to the temporal data, the highest abundance of BBD (0.77 col./m2) was found during the transition period (between wet and dry seasons), whereas for WS higher abundance occurred within the dry season (0.07 col./m2). There was a significant difference in disease abundance among seasons which was correlated with increasing temperature and light intensity along with variations in total organic matters, nitrite and phosphate levels. Moreover, the middle sites experienced additional stress from the waste material originating from the mainland, transported via currents flowing in this direction (the currents flow in reverse during the rainy season).