Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Determining background levels and defining outbreaks of crustose coralline algae disease on the Great Barrier Reef

I. R. Miller A B , M. Logan A , K. A. Johns A , M. J. Jonker A , K. Osborne A and H. P. A. Sweatman A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB#3 Townsville MC, Qld 4810, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: i.miller@aims.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 64(11) 1022-1028 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF12330
Submitted: 22 November 2012  Accepted: 26 April 2013   Published: 19 July 2013

Abstract

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) play a vital role in coral-reef ecosystems and, like other marine organisms, they are vulnerable to disease. Between 2006 and 2011, incidence of two types of CCA disease was systematically recorded over a large portion of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The two CCA diseases that were recorded, coralline lethal orange disease and coralline white-band syndrome, were ubiquitous on the GBR, but generally at low levels comparable to those found on reefs in other parts of the Indo-Pacific. The present broad-scale study of the distribution and abundance of CCA disease on the GBR provides information on background levels of these diseases and allows regional thresholds for outbreaks to be defined. This will allow managers and researchers to focus attention on areas of high incidence of CCA disease to increase our understanding of causes and the environmental impacts of CCA disease at a time when coral reefs are under growing anthropogenic threats.

Additional keywords: coralline, disease, outbreak.


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