Johan, Ofri, de Voogd, Nicole J., Budianto, Agus, Peters, Sonja, Aljbour, Samir M. and Kunzmann, Andreas ORCID: (2024) Epizoic yellow sponge (Poecilosclerida, Demospongiae) expansion on living Scleractinian corals in Bintan, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia. Marine Ecology . DOI

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Coral reef ecosystems in Indonesia are under threat due to changes in the environment driven by global climate change, along with local disturbances such as sedimentation and eutrophication. Consequently, comprehensive coral reef monitoring activities have been initiated at numerous locations across Indonesia. In this study, the findings from coral reef health surveys across 14 reef sites (within 40 hectares) in the Bintan area (Riau Archipelago, Indonesia; 100 km southeast of Singapore) revealed a potentially novel epizoic yellow sponge species (Phorbas sp.) that overgrows coral colonies. This species, tentatively classified as a new Phorbas sp. (order Poecilosclerida: family Hymedesmiidae), was identified through a combined approach employing classical taxonomic methods along with DNA barcoding using the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene. At every site, three permanent 20-m transects were established to annually monitor live coral coverage and species composition between 2014 and 2017. The survey indicated a notable change in the overall coral cover during this period. The abundance of coral diseases was investigated in 2014 and 2017. Additionally, the progress of Phorbas sp., was closely monitored (i.e., every second day for one week) at Bintan Island (site 11) during the dry season in August 2017. This approach aimed to approximate the relative impact of each incident on the coral's condition. The results indicated that the most comprehensive change occurred due to the overgrowth of Phorbas sp., which affected 12 scleractinian coral species across eight genera in almost all sites except one. The abundance of this epizoic sponge infestation was highest at Pulau Beralas Pasir (site 10), constituting 22.9% of all recorded life forms, and lowest at Pulau Pangkil-Besar (site 13), with only 0.7%. The expansion of the thin yellow sponge tissue was estimated to increase by up to 0.51 ± 0.48 cm2 per day on Porites coral.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA1
Research affiliation: Ecology > Experimental Aquaculture
Infrastructure > Biology Laboratory
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0173-9565
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2024 13:01
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 13:01

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