Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Health Screening of the Reef Forming Scleractinian Cold-Water Corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata in a Remote Submarine Canyon on the European Continental Margin, NE Atlantic

Version 1 : Received: 20 May 2021 / Approved: 24 May 2021 / Online: 24 May 2021 (08:20:11 CEST)

How to cite: Appah, J.; Lynch, S.; Lim, A.; O'Riordan, R.; O'Reilly, L.; de Oliveira, L.; Wheeler, A.J. Health Screening of the Reef Forming Scleractinian Cold-Water Corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata in a Remote Submarine Canyon on the European Continental Margin, NE Atlantic. Preprints 2021, 2021050538 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0538.v1). Appah, J.; Lynch, S.; Lim, A.; O'Riordan, R.; O'Reilly, L.; de Oliveira, L.; Wheeler, A.J. Health Screening of the Reef Forming Scleractinian Cold-Water Corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata in a Remote Submarine Canyon on the European Continental Margin, NE Atlantic. Preprints 2021, 2021050538 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0538.v1).

Abstract

Temperature and pH can expedite the ability of pathogens to cause diseases in cold-water corals (CWCs). The present study employed a combination of histology and polymerase chain reaction diagnostic techniques to investigate potential pathogens present in the CWCs Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata in the Porcupine Bank Canyon (PBC), NE Atlantic. No pathogen was observed in the Madrepora samples. Neither histology nor standard PCR detected Vibrio spp. in the corals, although using Illumina technology, V. shilonii was observed in some L. pertusa samples in low abundances (0.22%). A Rickettsiales-like organisms (RLOs) occurred at a prevalence of 8.0% and at a low infection intensity of 1 - 4. Lophelia showed a few RLOs infection from the PBC canyon head (2.7%) and high infections in the south branch (5.3%). Similarly, unidentified cells observed in L. pertusa from the south branch (4.0%) were more common than those found in the canyon head (1.3%) with a prevalence of 5.3%. Although the route of pathogen infection is unclear, a likely mode of entry could be associated with particulate availability and the feeding strategies of the scleractinian corals. This suggest that L. pertusa invests energy into an enhanced immune function and reduced susceptibility to global pathogens despite a changing ocean environment.

Subject Areas

Lophelia pertusa; Haplosporidia; Vibrio; Rickettsiales-like organisms; Histology; PCR; Pathogen; Cold-water corals

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