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Exploring Individual- to Population-Level Impacts of Disease on Coral Reef Sponges: Using Spatial Analysis to Assess the Fate, Dynamics, and Transmission of Aplysina Red Band Syndrome

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dc.contributor Middle Tennessee State University. Geosciences Department. en_US
dc.contributor.author Easson, Cole G. en_US
dc.contributor.author Slattery, Marc en_US
dc.contributor.author Momm, Henrique G. en_US
dc.contributor.author Olson, Julie B. en_US
dc.contributor.author Thacker, Robert W. en_US
dc.contributor.author Gochfeld, Deborah J. en_US
dc.contributor.author Lin, Senjie en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2014-06-24T15:36:34Z
dc.date.available 2014-06-24T15:36:34Z
dc.date.issued 2013-10-07 en_US
dc.identifier.citation PLoS ONE. 2013 Oct 7;8(11):e79976 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://jewlscholar.mtsu.edu/handle/mtsu/4238
dc.description.abstract Background: Marine diseases are of increasing concern for coral reef ecosystems, but often their causes, dynamics and impacts are unknown. The current study investigated the epidemiology of Aplysina Red Band Syndrome (ARBS), a disease affecting the Caribbean sponge Aplysina cauliformis, at both the individual and population levels. The fates of marked healthy and ARBS-infected sponges were examined over the course of a year. Population-level impacts and transmission mechanisms of ARBS were investigated by monitoring two populations of A. cauliformis over a three year period using digital photography and diver-collected data, and analyzing these data with GIS techniques of spatial analysis. In this study, three commonly used spatial statistics (Ripley's K, Getis-Ord General G, and Moran's Index) were compared to each other and with direct measurements of individual interactions using join-counts, to determine the ideal method for investigating disease dynamics and transmission mechanisms in this system. During the study period, Hurricane Irene directly impacted these populations, providing an opportunity to assess potential storm effects on A. cauliformis and ARBS. en_US
dc.description.abstract Results: Infection with ARBS caused increased loss of healthy sponge tissue over time and a higher likelihood of individual mortality. Hurricane Irene had a dramatic effect on A. cauliformis populations by greatly reducing sponge biomass on the reef, especially among diseased individuals. Spatial analysis showed that direct contact between A. cauliformis individuals was the likely transmission mechanism for ARBS within a population, evidenced by a significantly higher number of contact-joins between diseased sponges compared to random. Of the spatial statistics compared, the Moran's Index best represented true connections between diseased sponges in the survey area. This study showed that spatial analysis can be a powerful tool for investigating disease dynamics and transmission in a coral reef ecosystem. en_US
dc.rights This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. en_US
dc.title Exploring Individual- to Population-Level Impacts of Disease on Coral Reef Sponges: Using Spatial Analysis to Assess the Fate, Dynamics, and Transmission of Aplysina Red Band Syndrome en_US
dc.type Research Article en_US


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