Phillip Colburn

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


The goal of this study is to expand on a previous NOAA study analyzing the resistance of different genotypes of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata to disease. To build on this previous work, this study performed an assay attaching healthy replicates of multiple genotypes of these two acroporid species to fragments with disease signs (inoculants) within the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) nursery in Key Largo. This assay examines the variation in the resistance to disease between different genotypes of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata. The goal of this assay was to provide important information for coral recovery programs by identifying different responses to disease between nursery genotypes, and possibly identifying which coral genotypes are most disease resistant. This study found that there were three A.cervicornis genotypes that were significantly more susceptible to disease than the others tested, namely genotypes Kelsey, POM3, and Elkhorn from the University of Miami nursery. The A.palmata genotypes tested showed no significant variation in susceptibility. Understanding these disease resistance traits and which genotypes exemplify them can provide a tool to improve the overall resilience of restored coral populations against disease, possibly using them as parents for larval crosses or preferentially selecting resistant genotypes for areas that are known to be particularly susceptible to disease.


Department: MBE

MPS Track: TME

Location: NOAA/SEFSC

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