Coral colonies in Ka–ne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i (USA), are afflicted with the tissue loss disease chronic Montipora white syndrome (cMWS). Here we show that removal of chronic disease lesions is a potential method to slow the progression of cMWS in M. capitata. Over the 24 wk observation period, treatment colonies lost almost half the amount of tissue that was lost by control colonies. The percentage of tissue loss at each sampling interval (mean ± SEM; treatment: 1.17 ± 0.47%, control: 2.25 ± 0.63%) and the rate of tissue loss per day (treatment: 0.13 ± 0.04%, control: 0.27 ± 0.08%) were both significantly lower on treated colonies than control colonies. While lesion removal stopped tissue loss at the initial infection site, which allowed colony healing, it did not prevent re-infection; in all but one of the treated colonies, new cMWS lesions appeared in other areas of the colony but not around the treatment margins. Additionally, the rate of new infections was similar between treatment and control colonies, indicating that physical injury from lesion removal did not appear to increase cMWS susceptibility. These results indicate that lesion removal reduced morbidity in M. capitata exhibiting cMWS but did not stop the disease.
Beurmann, Silvia; Runyon, Christina M.; Videau, Patrick; Callahan, Sean M.; and Aeby, Greta S., "Assessment of disease lesion removal as a method to control chronic Montipora white syndrome" (2017). Faculty Research & Publications. 10.