Summary of Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission No. IO50-03-0051PresentationPoster

SKELETAL TISSUE ANOMALIES (STAS) OF SCELERACTINIAN CORALS: CONSEQUENCE OF INCREASING HUMAN DISTURBANCES?

Afreen Hussain*1, Kalyan De1, Liju Thomas1, Rahul Nagesh1, Sambhaji Mote1, Durbar Ray1, Baban Ingole1

1 National institute of oceanography, Goa, India

ABSTRACT :

Skeletal Tissue Anomalies (STAs) of corals or tumors are capable of causing considerable degradation to reef┐s health. The present underwater investigation revealed deteriorating health of corals in Malvan Marine Sanctuary (MMS). Prevalence and severity of the STAs was higher around the station affected by human activities related to tourism (71%) as compared to the other station (40%). Movement of boats, damage by boats┐ anchors, tourists and all related activities perturbs the bottom sediments, increases nutrient and TSS load which could have impaired host immunity and/ or increased pathogen virulence making the corals more susceptible to STAs and physical damage. Turbinaria mesenterina colonies with greater surface area were found to be more prone to STAs and had more abundance of tumors. Anomalies on other corals were also found to be a result of residing cryptofauna. Analysis of bottom sea water samples revealed high levels of dissolved nutrients and total suspended solids which could be responsible for aggravating such STAs in corals. These anomalies could be a result of increasing human activities in the reef posing a major threat to the sensitive corals.