An Integrative Analysis of Environmental Factors, Coral Population and Community Structure, and Microbial Community Composition Associated With Coral Diseases in Three Caribbean RegionsEPA Grant Number: U916086
Title: An Integrative Analysis of Environmental Factors, Coral Population and Community Structure, and Microbial Community Composition Associated With Coral Diseases in Three Caribbean Regions
Investigators: Voss, Joshua D.
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $53,390
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences , Biology/Life Sciences
The objectives of this research project are to: (1) examine both environmental and coral community factors that may influence coral diseases on reefs of the Northern Florida Keys, Lee Stocking Island (Bahamas), and Bocas del Toro (Panama); (2) evaluate the effect of disease outbreaks on coral population and community structure; and (3) analyze microbial community variation in a specific coral disease (black band) using a molecular approach.
This will be the first study to quantitatively document coral diseases on reefs surrounding Lee Stocking Island. This research and ongoing efforts to identify coral pathogens, elucidate etiology, and understand and reduce the impacts of coral diseases are necessary to reduce coral degradation and give hope to our conservation initiatives. The increase in the number of coral diseases and the expansion of their ranges in the past 20-25 years poses serious threats to the health of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. However, thus far, little is known about coral epizootiology, the conditions that promote coral infection, and the potential impacts on reef communities. Of the described coral diseases and syndromes, only six have been well characterized. Although some published studies provide data on the distribution of coral diseases, few studies have addressed the factors that drive these distributions.