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Open-File Report 2014–1017

Evaluation of Coral Pathogen Growth Rates After Exposure to Atmospheric African Dust Samples

By John T. Lisle, Virginia H. Garrison, and Michael A. Gray

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.37 MB)Abstract

Laboratory experiments were conducted to assess if exposure to atmospheric African dust stimulates or inhibits the growth of four putative bacterial coral pathogens. Atmospheric dust was collected from a dust-source region (Mali, West Africa) and from Saharan Air Layer masses over downwind sites in the Caribbean [Trinidad and Tobago and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)]. Extracts of dust samples were used to dose laboratory-grown cultures of four putative coral pathogens: Aurantimonas coralicida (white plague type II), Serratia marcescens (white pox), Vibrio coralliilyticus, and V. shiloi (bacteria-induced bleaching). Growth of A. coralicida and V. shiloi was slightly stimulated by dust extracts from Mali and USVI, respectively, but unaffected by extracts from the other dust sources. Lag time to the start of log-growth phase was significantly shortened for A. coralicida when dosed with dust extracts from Mali and USVI. Growth of S. marcescens and V. coralliilyticus was neither stimulated nor inhibited by any of the dust extracts. This study demonstrates that constituents from atmospheric dust can alter growth of recognized coral disease pathogens under laboratory conditions.

First posted March 19, 2014

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Suggested citation:

Lisle, J.T., Garrison, V.H., and Gray, M.A., 2014, Evaluation of Coral Pathogen Growth Rates After Exposure to Atmospheric African Dust Samples: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1017, 12 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)






Data Analysis

Results and Discussion


References Cited

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