Potential for transmission of yellow band disease between colonies of Montastrea annularis through common research techniques

This study investigates the relationship between yellow band disease (YBD) infected Montastrea annularis coral colonies and its potential to spread by contact with transect tapes, as commonly used in research. M. annularis plays an important role in maintaining reef complexity and diversity in Bonaire as it is a structural reef-building coral, yet the recent spread of YBD has created an degrading the reefs (Bruckner 2006). The study has two primary goals, to investigate whether the use of transect lines had the potential to transfer YBD from one coral to another, and whether a simple cleaning protocol can reduce this transfer. Transects placed on the YBD infected colonies of M. annularis had the most percent bacterial growth, though not statistically significant. It also showed that even though specific species of bacteria were unable to be identified, the transect lines are indeed capable of carrying bacteria. Although the difference was not significant in this study, cleansing treatments may have an effect on lessening the growth of bacteria.

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science X (Fall 2011)19: 11-15 from CIEE Bonaire.

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