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Dis Aquat Organ. 2005 May 20;64(3):181-91.

Coral diseases on Philippine reefs: genus Porites is a dominant host.

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Marine Laboratory, University of Guam, UOG Station, Mangilao 96923, Guam.


While it is generally assumed that Indo-Pacific reefs are not widely affected by diseases, limited data suggest a number of diseases and syndromes that appear to differ from those currently under study in the Caribbean. This report presents the results of a baseline survey of coral diseases in 2 regions in the Philippines: the Central Visayas and the Lingayen Gulf. Mean prevalence for all diseases observed was 8.3 +/- 1.2% (mean +/- SE; n = 8 reefs), with Central Visayas reefs showing higher disease prevalence (11.6 +/- 2.8%; n = 4 reefs) than those of Lingayen Gulf (5.1 +/- 1.4%; n = 4 reefs). Five diseases and syndromes were described; 3 of these-Porites ulcerative white spot disease (PUWS) (prevalence = 8.96 +/- 2.2%), tumors (prevalence = 1.0 +/- 0.5%) and pigmentation response (prevalence = 0.5 +/- 0.2%)--occurred frequently in both regions and targeted the genus Porites. Correlation between disease prevalence and number of Porites colonies was fairly strong (r2 = 43.4), though not significant, and no correlation was seen between prevalence and either the amount or diversity of hard coral. Porites is a major reef-builder in the Indo-Pacific comprising 30% of hard coral colonies on our surveyed reefs, and is generally thought to be a hardy, long-lived genus. Diseases targeting this robust group present an as yet unquantified risk to Philippine reefs and could result in major changes in reef structure.

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