Newest publications out of the Aeby/Callahan Lab

Filamentous sulfide oxidizing bacterium isolated from Black Band Disease lesion

Filamentous sulfide oxidizing bacterium isolated from Black Band Disease lesion

Team coral has done it again. We have just published a paper on Black Band Disease of Kauai.Congratulations to Dr. Greta Aeby et al for the publication in PLoS One entitled: First Record of Black Band Disease in the Hawaiian Archipelago: Response, Outbreak Status, Virulence, and a Method of Treatment


A high number of coral colonies, Montipora spp., with progressive tissue loss were reported from the north shore of Kaua‘i by a member of the Eyes of the Reef volunteer reporting network. The disease has a distinct lesion (semi-circular pattern of tissue loss with an adjacent dark band) that was first observed in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i in 2004. The disease, initially termed Montipora banded tissue loss, appeared grossly similar to black band disease (BBD), which affects corals worldwide. Following the initial report, a rapid response was initiated as outlined in Hawai‘i’s rapid response contingency plan to determine outbreak status and investigate the disease. Our study identified the three dominant bacterial constituents indicative of BBD (filamentous cyanobacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria) in coral disease lesions from Kaua‘i, which provided the first evidence of BBD in the Hawaiian archipelago. A rapid survey at the alleged outbreak site found disease to affect 6-7% of the montiporids, which is higher than a prior prevalence of less than 1% measured on Kaua‘i in 2004, indicative of an epizootic. Tagged colonies with BBD had an average rate of tissue loss of 5.7 cm2/day over a two-month period. Treatment of diseased colonies with a double band of marine epoxy, mixed with chlorine powder, effectively reduced colony mortality. Within two months, treated colonies lost an average of 30% less tissue compared to untreated controls.

Congratulations to Blake Ushijima et al. for the publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology entitled: Vibrio coralliilyticus strain OCN008 is an etiological agent of acute Montipora white syndrome.  Below is the abstract from the publication and above is the time lapsed video of OCN008 and its damaging effect to Montipora capitata in forty-eight hours.


 Identification of a pathogen is a critical first step in the epidemiology and subsequent management of a disease. A limited number of pathogens have been identified for diseases contributing to the global decline of coral populations. Here we describe Vibrio coralliilyticus strain OCN008, which induces acuteMontipora White Syndrome (aMWS), a tissue-loss disease responsible for substantial mortality of the coral Montipora capitata in Kāne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i. OCN008 was grown in pure culture, recreated signs of disease in experimentally infected corals, and could be recovered after infection. In addition, strains similar to OCN008 were isolated from diseased coral from the field, but not from healthyM. capitata. OCN008 repeatedly induced tissue loss of healthy M. capitatafragments under laboratory conditions with a minimum infectious dose between 107 and 108 CFU/ml of water. In contrast, Porites compressa was not infected by OCN008 indicating host specificity of the pathogen. A decrease in water temperature from 27 to 23 °C affected time to disease onset, but the risk of infection was not significantly reduced. Temperature-dependent bleaching, which has been observed with the V. coralliilyticus type strain BAA-450, was not observed during infection with OCN008. A genome comparison of OCN008 to pathogenic V. coralliilyticus strains BAA-450 and P1 revealed similar virulence-associated genes and quorum sensing systems. Despite this genetic similarity, infections of M. capitata by OCN008 do not follow the paradigm for V. coralliilyticus infections established by the type strain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s