Reef sites Crustose coralline algae (CCA) play a key role in calciﬁcation and consolidation of substrate on coral reefs, with some spe- cies also providing important settlement substrate for coral recruits. Like corals, CCA suffer diseases that threatens their survival and persistence (Vargas-Angel 2010), including a fungal disease that results in rapid tissue necrosis, particularly during ocean warming events (Williams et al. 2014). Coralline fungal disease (CFD) was ﬁrst reported at the island of Tutuila in American Samoa in 1998 (Littler and Littler 1998) and later at the islands of Swains and Rose in American Samoa (Vargas- Angel 2010). Other reports of CFD are restricted to the remote central Paciﬁc at Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the northern Line Islands (Vargas-Angel 2010; Williams et al. 2014). Here we report on the ﬁrst ﬁeld sightings of CFD in the Indian Ocean at islands within the remote and highly protected Fig. 1 Field signs of CFD affecting crustose coralline algae (Porolithon sp.) at Ile Chagos Archipelago, British Indian Ocean Territory (Fig. 1). de la Passe Island, Peros Banhos Atoll, Chagos Archipelago, in April 2018 (fore Of the 29 reefs surveyed during an expedition in April 2018 reef habitat, ~ 8 m depth). The active lesion (white arrow) appears as a black/grey mat that tends to radiate out across the surface of the CCA crust. The CCA tissue across ~ 200 km of latitude, CFD was documented at 8 of remains healthy on the leading edge of the lesion (a) but is quickly colonized by them. CFD sightings were restricted to shallow (< 15 m depth) microalgae and turf algae following necrosis (b). These ﬁeld signs are consistent with CFD descriptions from the Paciﬁc Ocean (Vargas-Angel 2010) that have been fore reef habitats and not observed on backreef or patch reef conﬁrmed as being caused by a fungal infection using histopathology (Williams habitats. At two reefs, CFD was at outbreak levels, with > 5 et al. 2014). White scale bar = 1 cm –2 cases m of CCA. These are among the highest densities of CFD ever reported and appeared to correlate with high host density at these locations (> 50% host CCA cover). The coral reefs of the Chagos Archipelago suffered from back-to-back ocean warming events in 2015, 2016 and 2017 that have reduced live hard coral cover. The high densities of CFD recorded here may represent a residual impact of these warming events but whether CFD signiﬁcantly alters key reef processes such as accretion, coral recruitment and substrate consolidation across the region requires further study. Acknowledgements We thank the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) for granting access to the Chagos Archipelago and the crew of the Grampian Frontier for logistical support. Funding was provided by the Bertarelli Foundation. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conﬂict of interest. References Littler MM, Littler DS (1998) An undescribed fungal pathogen of reef-forming crustose coralline algae discovered in American Samoa. Coral Reefs 17:144 Vargas-Angel B (2010) Crustose coralline algal diseases in the U.S.-Afﬁliated Paciﬁc Islands. Coral Reefs 29:943–956 Williams GJ, Price NN, Ushijima B, Aeby GS, Callahan S, Davy SK, Gove JM, Johnson MD, Knapp IS, Shore-Maggio A, Smith JE, Videau P, Work TM (2014) Ocean warming and acidiﬁcation have complex interactive effects on the dynamics of a marine fungal disease. Proc Roy Soc B 281:20133069 G. J. Williams (&) R. C. Roche J. R. Turner School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Anglesey LL59 5AB, UK e-mail: email@example.com Coral Reefs (2018) Received: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018 DOI 10.1007/s00338-018-1704-z
Coral Reefs – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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