Low pH reduces the virulence of black band disease on Orbicella faveolata

Black band is a deadly coral disease found worldwide, which may become more virulent as oceanic conditions continue to change. To determine the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on black band disease virulence, Orbicella faveolata corals with black band were exposed to different temperature and pH conditions. Results showed a significant decrease in disease progression under low pH (7.7) conditions. Low pH also altered the relative abundance of the bacterial community of the black band disease consortium. Here, there was a significant decrease in Roseofilum, the cyanobacterium that typically dominates the black band mat. These results indicate that as oceanic pH decreases so may the virulence of a worldwide coral disease.

Muller E. M., Leporacci N. M., Macartney K. J., Shea A. G., Crane R. E., Hall E. R. & Ritchie K. B., 2017. Low pH reduces the virulence of black band disease on Orbicella faveolata. PLoS ONE 12(6):e0178869. Article.

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