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Casas, V, Kline DI, Wegley L, Yu YN, Breitbart M, Rohwer F.  2004.  Widespread association of a Rickettsiales-like bacterium with reef-building corals. Environmental Microbiology. 6:1137-1148.   10.1111/j.1462-2920.2004.00647.x   AbstractWebsite

White band disease type I (WBD I) has been a major cause of the dramatic decline of Acroporid coral populations throughout the Caribbean during the last two decades, yet the aetiological agent of this disease is unknown. In this study, the bacterial communities associated with both healthy and diseased Acropora species were compared by 16S rDNA analyses. The bacterial communities of both healthy and diseased Acropora spp. were dominated by a single ribotype with 90% identity to a bacterium in the order Rickettsiales. Screening by nested PCR specific to the coral-associated Rickettsiales 1 (CAR1) bacterium showed that this microbe was widespread in both healthy and diseased A. cervicornis and A. palmata corals from 'healthy' (i.e. low WBD I incidence) and 'stressed' reefs (i.e. high WBD I incidence). These results indicate that there were no dramatic changes in the composition of the microbial community associated with WBD I. CAR1 was also associated with non-Acroporid corals of the Caribbean, as well as with two Acroporid corals native to the Pacific. CAR1 was not present in the water column. This bacterium was also absent from preserved Caribbean Acroporid samples collected between 1937 and 1980 before the outbreak of WBD I. These results suggest CAR1 is a relatively new bacterial associate of Acroporids and that a non-bacterial pathogen might be the cause of WBD I.

Treibitz, T, Neal BP, Kline DI, Beijbom O, Roberts PLD, Mitchell BG, Kriegman D.  2015.  Wide field-of-view fluorescence imaging of coral reefs. Scientific Reports. 5   10.1038/srep07694   AbstractWebsite

Coral reefs globally are declining rapidly because of both local and global stressors. Improved monitoring tools are urgently needed to understand the changes that are occurring at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Coral fluorescence imaging tools have the potential to improve both ecological and physiological assessments. Although fluorescence imaging is regularly used for laboratory studies of corals, it has not yet been used for large-scale in situ assessments. Current obstacles to effective underwater fluorescence surveying include limited field-of-view due to low camera sensitivity, the need for nighttime deployment because of ambient light contamination, and the need for custom multispectral narrow band imaging systems to separate the signal into meaningful fluorescence bands. Here we describe the Fluorescence Imaging System (FluorIS), based on a consumer camera modified for greatly increased sensitivity to chlorophyll-a fluorescence, and we show high spectral correlation between acquired images and in situ spectrometer measurements. This system greatly facilitates underwater wide field-of-view fluorophore surveying during both night and day, and potentially enables improvements in semi-automated segmentation of live corals in coral reef photographs and juvenile coral surveys.

Kline, DI, Vollmer SV.  2011.  White Band Disease (type I) of Endangered Caribbean Acroporid Corals is Caused by Pathogenic Bacteria. Scientific Reports. 1   10.1038/srep00007   AbstractWebsite

Diseases affecting coral reefs have increased exponentially over the last three decades and contributed to their decline, particularly in the Caribbean. In most cases, the responsible pathogens have not been isolated, often due to the difficulty in isolating and culturing marine bacteria. White Band Disease (WBD) has caused unprecedented declines in the Caribbean acroporid corals, resulting in their listings as threatened on the US Threatened and Endangered Species List and critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Yet, despite the importance of WBD, the probable pathogen(s) have not yet been determined. Here we present in situ transmission data from a series of filtrate and antibiotic treatments of disease tissue that indicate that WBD is contagious and caused by bacterial pathogen(s). Additionally our data suggest that Ampicillin could be considered as a treatment for WBD (type I).

Neal, BP, Condit C, Liu G, dos Santos S, Kahru M, Mitchell BG, Kline DI.  2014.  When depth is no refuge: cumulative thermal stress increases with depth in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Coral Reefs. 33:193-205.   10.1007/s00338-013-1081-6   AbstractWebsite

Coral reefs are increasingly affected by high-temperature stress events and associated bleaching. Monitoring and predicting these events have largely utilized sea surface temperature data, due to the convenience of using large-scale remotely sensed satellite measurements. However, coral bleaching has been observed to vary in severity throughout the water column, and variations in coral thermal stress across depths have not yet been well investigated. In this study, in situ water temperature data from 1999 to 2011 from three depths were used to calculate thermal stress on a coral reef in Bahia Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama, which was compared to satellite surface temperature data and thermal stress calculations for the same area and time period from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch Satellite Bleaching Alert system. The results show similar total cumulative annual thermal stress for both the surface and depth-stratified data, but with a striking difference in the distribution of that stress among the depth strata during different high-temperature events, with the greatest thermal stress unusually recorded at the deepest measured depth during the most severe bleaching event in 2005. Temperature records indicate that a strong density-driven temperature inversion may have formed in this location in that year, contributing to the persistence and intensity of bleaching disturbance at depth. These results indicate that depth may not provide a stress refuge from high water temperature events in some situations, and in this case, the water properties at depth appear to have contributed to greater coral bleaching at depth compared to near-surface locations. This case study demonstrates the importance of incorporating depth-stratified temperature monitoring and small-scale oceanographic and hydrologic data for understanding and predicting local reef responses to elevated water temperature events.

Andersson, AJ, Kline DI, Edmunds PJ, Archer SD, Bednaršek N, Carpenter RC, Chadsey M, Goldstein P, Grottoli AG, Hurst TP.  2015.  Understanding ocean acidification impacts on organismal to ecological scales. Oceanography. 28(2):16-27. Abstract
Kaniewska, P, Chan C-KK, Kline D, Ling EYS, Rosic N, Edwards D, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S.  2015.  Transcriptomic Changes in Coral Holobionts Provide Insights into Physiological Challenges of Future Climate and Ocean Change. . PLoS ONE . 10(10):e0139223.   10.1371/journal.pone.0139223  
Beijbom, O, Edmunds PJ, Roelfsema C, Smith J, Kline DI, Neal BP, Dunlap MJ, Moriarty V, Fan TY, Tan CJ, Chan S, Treibitz T, Gamst A, Mitchell BG, Kriegman D.  2015.  Towards automated annotation of benthic survey images: Variability of human experts and operational modes of automation. Plos One. 10   10.1371/journal.pone.0130312   AbstractWebsite

Global climate change and other anthropogenic stressors have heightened the need to rapidly characterize ecological changes in marine benthic communities across large scales. Digital photography enables rapid collection of survey images to meet this need, but the subsequent image annotation is typically a time consuming, manual task. We investigated the feasibility of using automated point-annotation to expedite cover estimation of the 17 dominant benthic categories from survey-images captured at four Pacific coral reefs. Inter- and intra- annotator variability among six human experts was quantified and compared to semi- and fully- automated annotation methods, which are made available at coralnet.ucsd. edu. Our results indicate high expert agreement for identification of coral genera, but lower agreement for algal functional groups, in particular between turf algae and crustose coralline algae. This indicates the need for unequivocal definitions of algal groups, careful training of multiple annotators, and enhanced imaging technology. Semi-automated annotation, where 50% of the annotation decisions were performed automatically, yielded cover estimate errors comparable to those of the human experts. Furthermore, fully-automated annotation yielded rapid, unbiased cover estimates but with increased variance. These results show that automated annotation can increase spatial coverage and decrease time and financial outlay for image-based reef surveys.

Cyronak, T, Andersson AJ, Langdon C, Albright R, Bates NR, Caldeira K, Carlton R, Corredor JE, Dunbar RB, Enochs I, Erez J, Eyre BD, Gattuso JP, Gledhill D, Kayanne H, Kline DI, Koweek DA, Lantz C, Lazar B, Manzello D, McMahon A, Melendez M, Page HN, Santos IR, Schulz KG, Shaw E, Silverman J, Suzuki A, Teneva L, Watanabe A, Yamamoto S.  2018.  Taking the metabolic pulse of the world's coral reefs. Plos One. 13   10.1371/journal.pone.0190872   AbstractWebsite

Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.

Mass, T, Kline DI, Roopin M, Veal CJ, Cohen S, Iluz D, Levy O.  2010.  The spectral quality of light is a key driver of photosynthesis and photoadaptation in Stylophora pistillata colonies from different depths in the Red Sea. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213:4084-4091.   10.1242/jeb.039891   AbstractWebsite

Depth zonation on coral reefs is largely driven by the amount of downwelling, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) that is absorbed by the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) of corals. The minimum light requirements of zooxanthellae are related to both the total intensity of downwelling PAR and the spectral quality of the light. Here we used Stylophora pistillata colonies collected from shallow (3 m) and deep (40 m) water; colonies were placed in a respirometer under both ambient PAR irradiance and a filter that only transmits blue light. We found that the colonies exhibited a clear difference in their photosynthetic rates when illuminated under PAR and filtered blue light, with higher photosynthetic performance when deep colonies were exposed to blue light compared with full-spectrum PAR for the same light intensity and duration. By contrast, colonies from shallow water showed the opposite trend, with higher photosynthetic performances under full-spectrum PAR than under filtered blue light. These findings are supported by the absorption spectra of corals, with deeper colonies absorbing higher energy wavelengths than the shallow colonies, with different spectral signatures. Our results indicate that S. pistillata colonies are chromatically adapted to their surrounding light environment, with photoacclimation probably occurring via an increase in photosynthetic pigments rather than algal density. The spectral properties of the downwelling light are clearly a crucial component of photoacclimation that should be considered in future transplantation and photoacclimation studies.

Kline, DI, Teneva L, Hauri C, Schneider K, Miard T, Chai A, Marker M, Dunbar R, Caldeira K, Lazar B.  2015.  Six Month In Situ High-Resolution Carbonate Chemistry and Temperature Study on a Coral Reef Flat Reveals Asynchronous pH and Temperature Anomalies. PloS one. 10(6):e0127648.: Public Library of Science Abstract
Du, N, Gholami P, Kline DI, Dupont CL, Dickson AG, Mendola D, Martz T, Allen AE, Mitchell GB.  2018.  Simultaneous quantum yield measurements of carbon uptake and oxygen evolution in microalgal cultures. PloS one. 13(6):e0199125.: Public Library of Science   10.1371/journal.pone.0199125   Abstract


Kline, DI, Teneva L, Schneider K, Miard T, Chai A, Marker M, Headley K, Opdyke B, Nash M, Valetich M, Caves JK, Russell BD, Connell SD, Kirkwood BJ, Brewer P, Peltzer E, Silverman J, Caldeira K, Dunbar RB, Koseff JR, Monismith SG, Mitchell BG, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2012.  A short-term in situ CO2 enrichment experiment on Heron Island (GBR). Scientific Reports. 2   10.1038/srep00413   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification poses multiple challenges for coral reefs on molecular to ecological scales, yet previous experimental studies of the impact of projected CO2 concentrations have mostly been done in aquarium systems with corals removed from their natural ecosystem and placed under artificial light and seawater conditions. The Coral-Proto Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment System (CP-FOCE) uses a network of sensors to monitor conditions within each flume and maintain experimental pH as an offset from environmental pH using feedback control on the injection of low pH seawater. Carbonate chemistry conditions maintained in the -0.06 and -0.22 pH offset treatments were significantly different than environmental conditions. The results from this short-term experiment suggest that the CP-FOCE is an important new experimental system to study in situ impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.

Hamilton, TJ, Kline DI, Tresguerres M.  2018.  Shoaling behaviour is differentially altered by ethanol and dopamine D1 receptor modulators in tropical marine forage fish. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. (999):1-6.: NRC Research Press Abstract
Kline, DI, Kuntz NM, Breitbart M, Knowlton N, Rohwer F.  2006.  Role of elevated organic carbon levels and microbial activity in coral mortality. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 314:119-125.   10.3354/meps314119   AbstractWebsite

Coral reefs are suffering a long-term global decline, yet the causes remain contentious. The role of poor water quality in this decline is particularly unclear, with most previous studies providing only weak correlations between elevated nutrient levels and coral mortality. Here we experimentally show that routinely measured components of water quality (nitrate, phosphate, ammonia) do not cause substantial coral mortality. In contrast, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which is rarely measured on reefs, does. Elevated DOC levels also accelerate the growth rate of microbes living in the corals' surface mucopolysaccharide layer by an order of magnitude, suggesting that mortality occurs due to a disruption of the balance between the coral and its associated microbiota. We propose a model by which elevated DOC levels cause Caribbean reefs to shift further from coral to macroalgal dominance. Increasing DOC levels on coral reefs should be recognized as a threat and routinely monitored.

Georgiou, L, Falter J, Trotter J, Kline DI, Holcomb M, Dove SG, Hoegh-Guldberg O, McCulloch M.  2015.  pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 112(43):13219-13224.   10.1073/pnas.1505586112  
Kuntz, NM, Kline DI, Sandin SA, Rohwer F.  2005.  Pathologies and mortality rates caused by organic carbon and nutrient stressors in three Caribbean coral species. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 294:173-180.   10.3354/meps294173   AbstractWebsite

Anthropogenic inputs, including organic carbon and nutrient loading, are increasingly changing the water quality on coral reefs. Herein we show that treating Montastraea annularis, Agaricia tenuifolia and Porites furcata with various organic carbon sources (starch, lactose, arabinose and mannose) results in different species-specific and carbon-specific pathologies and rates of mortality. The variation in the pathological characteristics caused by stressors showed that visual cues for determining coral health and disease may be misleading. The probability of mortality increased significantly over time with continual exposure to several of the stressors, suggesting that chronic stressors may be more harmful than acute stressors. In contrast to the organic carbon sources, high concentrations of nutrients (phosphate, ammonium and nitrate) did not directly kill corals. The variation in coral responses to anthropogenic stressors means that changes on disturbed coral reefs will depend on the type of and duration of exposure to the stressor, as well as on the species of coral.

Connell, SD, Kroeker KJ, Fabricius KE, Kline DI, Russell BD.  2013.  The other ocean acidification problem: CO2 as a resource among competitors for ecosystem dominance. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 368   10.1098/rstb.2012.0442   AbstractWebsite

Predictions concerning the consequences of the oceanic uptake of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have been primarily occupied with the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms, particularly those critical to the formation of habitats (e. g. coral reefs) or their maintenance (e. g. grazing echinoderms). This focus overlooks direct and indirect effects of CO2 on non-calcareous taxa that play critical roles in ecosystem shifts (e. g. competitors). We present the model that future atmospheric [CO2] may act as a resource for mat-forming algae, a diverse and widespread group known to reduce the resilience of kelp forests and coral reefs. We test this hypothesis by combining laboratory and field CO2 experiments and data from 'natural' volcanic CO2 vents. We show that mats have enhanced productivity in experiments and more expansive covers in situ under projected near-future CO2 conditions both in temperate and tropical conditions. The benefits of CO2 are likely to vary among species of producers, potentially leading to shifts in species dominance in a high CO2 world. We explore how ocean acidification combines with other environmental changes across a number of scales, and raise awareness of CO2 as a resource whose change in availability could have wide-ranging community consequences beyond its direct effects.

Anthony, KRN, Kline DI, Diaz-Pulido G, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2008.  Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105:17442-17446.   10.1073/pnas.0804478105   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification represents a key threat to coral reefs by reducing the calcification rate of framework builders. In addition, acidification is likely to affect the relationship between corals and their symbiotic dinoflagellates and the productivity of this association. However, little is known about how acidification impacts on the physiology of reef builders and how acidification interacts with warming. Here, we report on an 8-week study that compared bleaching, productivity, and calcification responses of crustose coralline algae (CCA) and branching (Acropora) and massive (Porites) coral species in response to acidification and warming. Using a 30-tank experimental system, we manipulated CO2 levels to simulate doubling and three- to fourfold increases [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection categories IV and VI] relative to present-day levels under cool and warm scenarios. Results indicated that high CO2 is a bleaching agent for corals and CCA under high irradiance, acting synergistically with warming to lower thermal bleaching thresholds. We propose that CO2 induces bleaching via its impact on photoprotective mechanisms of the photosystems. Overall, acidification impacted more strongly on bleaching and productivity than on calcification. Interestingly, the intermediate, warm CO2 scenario led to a 30% increase in productivity in Acropora, whereas high CO2 lead to zero productivity in both corals. CCA were most sensitive to acidification, with high CO2 leading to negative productivity and high rates of net dissolution. Our findings suggest that sensitive reef-building species such as CCA may be pushed beyond their thresholds for growth and survival within the next few decades whereas corals will show delayed and mixed responses.

Reyes-Nivia, C, Diaz-Pullido G, Kline D, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S.  2013.  Ocean acidification and warming scenarios increase bioerosion of coral skeletons. Global Change Biology. 19:1919-1929.   10.1111/gcb.12158   Abstract

Biological mediation of carbonate dissolution represents a fundamental component of the destructive forces acting on coral reef ecosystems. Whereas ocean acidification can increase dissolution of carbonate substrates, the combined impact of ocean acidification and warming on the microbioerosion of coral skeletons remains unknown. Here, we exposed skeletons of the reef-building corals, Porites cylindrica and Isopora cuneata, to present-day (Control: 400 μatm – 24 °C) and future pCO2–temperature scenarios projected for the end of the century (Medium: +230 μatm – +2 °C; High: +610 μatm – +4 °C). Skeletons were also subjected to permanent darkness with initial sodium hypochlorite incubation, and natural light without sodium hypochlorite incubation to isolate the environmental effect of acidic seawater (i.e., Ωaragonite <1) from the biological effect of photosynthetic microborers. Our results indicated that skeletal dissolution is predominantly driven by photosynthetic microborers, as samples held in the dark did not decalcify. In contrast, dissolution of skeletons exposed to light increased under elevated pCO2–temperature scenarios, with P. cylindrica experiencing higher dissolution rates per month (89%) than I. cuneata (46%) in the high treatment relative to control. The effects of future pCO2–temperature scenarios on the structure of endolithic communities were only identified in P. cylindrica and were mostly associated with a higher abundance of the green algae Ostreobium spp. Enhanced skeletal dissolution was also associated with increased endolithic biomass and respiration under elevated pCO2–temperature scenarios. Our results suggest that future projections of ocean acidification and warming will lead to increased rates of microbioerosion. However, the magnitude of bioerosion responses may depend on the structural properties of coral skeletons, with a range of implications for reef carbonate losses under warmer and more acidic oceans.

Vollmer, SV, Kline DI.  2008.  Natural Disease Resistance in Threatened Staghorn Corals. Plos One. 3   10.1371/journal.pone.0003718   AbstractWebsite

Disease epidemics have caused extensive damage to tropical coral reefs and to the reef-building corals themselves, yet nothing is known about the abilities of the coral host to resist disease infection. Understanding the potential for natural disease resistance in corals is critically important, especially in the Caribbean where the two ecologically dominant shallow-water corals, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, have suffered an unprecedented mass die-off due to White Band Disease (WBD), and are now listed as threatened under the US Threatened Species Act and as critically endangered under the IUCN Red List criteria. Here we examine the potential for natural resistance to WBD in the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis by combining microsatellite genotype information with in situ transmission assays and field monitoring of WBD on tagged genotypes. We show that six percent of staghorn coral genotypes (3 out of 49) are resistant to WBD. This natural resistance to WBD in staghorn corals represents the first evidence of host disease resistance in scleractinian corals and demonstrates that staghorn corals have an innate ability to resist WBD infection. These resistant staghorn coral genotypes may explain why pockets of Acropora have been able to survive the WBD epidemic. Understanding disease resistance in these corals may be the critical link to restoring populations of these once dominant corals throughout their range.

Fang, JKH, Schönberg CHL, Kline DI, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S.  2012.  Methods to quantify components of the excavating sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900. Marine Ecology. :n/a-n/a.   10.1111/maec.12005   AbstractWebsite

This study applied the loss after combustion (LAC) method and the acid decalcification (ADC) method to quantify different components of an excavating sponge. Samples of dried coral skeleton of Favia sp. invaded by the Indo-Pacific excavating sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900 were used. The sponge tissue penetrated the 12-mm-thick samples to approximately 10 mm. The average proportional weight of organic matter, siliceous spicules, calcareous substrate and salts in the entire samples was found to be respectively 2.5%, 4.4%, 90.5% and 2.5% of dry weight applying the LAC method, and 2.9%, 5.9%, 89.0% and 2.3% of dry weight applying the ADC method. Respective volumetric proportions of the organic matter, spicules, substrate and salts were then calculated to be 6.4%, 5.5%, 85.2% and 3.0% of volume with the LAC method, and 7.4%, 7.2%, 82.7% and 2.7% of volume with the ADC method. The LAC method showed low variability of data and is simple and fast and therefore is recommended. The ADC method generated very similar results to the LAC method. However, due to the handling involved in the ADC method, more than half of the spicules may be lost and the method is therefore not recommended unless careful data corrections are considered. In addition, the buoyant weight method was used to quantify actual substrate weight in the fresh sponge-substrate samples. This method was found to be at least 97% effective, revealing that buoyant weights can potentially be used to quantify bioerosion rates of excavating sponges. To our knowledge, this is the first study to systemically quantify organic and inorganic components of an excavating sponge and its calcareous substrate, providing improved standard methods for future studies.

Neal, BP, Lin TH, Winter RN, Treibitz T, Beijbom O, Kriegman D, Kline DI, Mitchell BG.  2015.  Methods and measurement variance for field estimations of coral colony planar area using underwater photographs and semi-automated image. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 187   10.1007/s10661-015-4690-4   AbstractWebsite

Size and growth rates for individual colonies are some of the most essential descriptive parameters for understanding coral communities, which are currently experiencing worldwide declines in health and extent. Accurately measuring coral colony size and changes over multiple years can reveal demographic, growth, or mortality patterns often not apparent from shortterm observations and can expose environmental stress responses that may take years to manifest. Describing community size structure can reveal population dynamics patterns, such as periods of failed recruitment or patterns of colony fission, which have implications for the future sustainability of these ecosystems. However, rapidly and non-invasively measuring coral colony sizes in situ remains a difficult task, as three-dimensional underwater digital reconstruction methods are currently not practical for large numbers of colonies. Twodimensional (2D) planar area measurements from projection of underwater photographs are a practical size proxy, although this method presents operational difficulties in obtaining well-controlled photographs in the highly rugose environment of the coral reef, and requires extensive time for image processing. Here, we present and test the measurement variance for a method of making rapid planar area estimates of small to medium-sized coral colonies using a lightweight monopod image-framing system and a custom semiautomated image segmentation analysis program. This method demonstrated a coefficient of variation of 2.26 % for repeated measurements in realistic ocean conditions, a level of error appropriate for rapid, inexpensive field studies of coral size structure, inferring change in colony size over time, or measuring bleaching or disease extent of large numbers of individual colonies.

Bongaerts, P, Bridge TCL, Kline DI, Muir PR, Wallace CC, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Beaman RJ.  2011.  Mesophotic coral ecosystems on the walls of Coral Sea atolls. Coral Reefs. 30:335-335.   10.1007/s00338-011-0725-7   Website
Levitan, DR, Fukami H, Jara J, Kline D, McGovern TM, McGhee KE, Swanson CA, Knowlton N.  2004.  Mechanisms of reproductive isolation among sympatric broadcast-spawning corals of the Montastraea annularis species complex. Evolution. 58:308-323.   10.1554/02-700   AbstractWebsite

Many coral species spawn simultaneously and have compatible gametes, leading to controversy over the nature of species boundaries and the frequency with which hybridization occurs. Three western Atlantic corals, Montastraea annularis, M. faveolata, and M. franksi, typify this controversy; they all spawn sympatrically on the same evenings after the fall full moons. Here we show, in both Panama and the Bahamas for multiple years, how a variety of mechanisms may act in concert to reproductively isolate all three species. Field studies indicate that M. franksi spawns two hours earlier than the other two species, and the eggs released during this earlier period disperse an average of 500 m by the time the other species spawn. Field measures of fertilization indicate that peak fertilization occurs when spawning synchrony is high and that corals that spawn at the tails of the spawning distributions have greatly reduced fertilization success. Laboratory studies indicate that there is a gametic incompatibility between M. faveolata and the other two species. There are regional differences in the gametic compatibility of M. franksi and M. annularis. In Panama, the two species are completely compatible, whereas in the Bahamas, M. franksi sperm can fertilize M. annularis eggs but the reciprocal cross often fails. Gamete age influences patterns of fertilization, such that very young eggs seem resistant to fertilization and old sperm lose viability after two hours. In sum, the combination of temporal differences in spawning, sperm aging, gamete dispersal and dilution, and gametic incompatibility act in various combinations among the three species, making it unlikely that hybrid fertilization would occur.

Calamia, MA, Kline DI, Kago S, Donovan K, Dulunaqio S, Tabaleka T, Mitchell BG.  2010.  Marine-based community conserved areas in Fiji: an example of indigenous governance and partnership. Indigenous peoples and conservation: from rights to resource management. ( Walker Painemilla K, Rylands AB, Woofter A, Hughers C, Eds.).:95-114., Arlington, VA.: Conservation International Abstract