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BACKGROUND The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL(More)
Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate(More)
In September of 2010, Brewer's Bay reef, located in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), was simultaneously affected by abnormally high temperatures and the passage of a hurricane that resulted in the mass bleaching and fragmentation of its coral community. An outbreak of a rapid tissue loss disease among coral colonies was associated with these two(More)
White plague (WP)-like diseases of tropical corals are implicated in reef decline worldwide, although their etiological cause is generally unknown. Studies thus far have focused on bacterial or eukaryotic pathogens as the source of these diseases; no studies have examined the role of viruses. Using a combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and(More)
Deeper coral reefs experience reduced temperatures and light and are often shielded from localized anthropogenic stressors such as pollution and fishing. The deep reef refugia hypothesis posits that light-dependent stony coral species at deeper depths are buffered from thermal stress and will avoid bleaching-related mass mortalities caused by increasing sea(More)
Natural and anthropogenic factors may influence corals' ability to recover from partial mortality. To examine how environmental conditions affect lesion healing, we assessed several water quality parameters and tissue regeneration rates in corals at six reefs around St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. We hypothesized that sites closer to developed areas would(More)
An underwater video surveillance system known as TrapCam was used to continuously record (15 ×c. 24 h periods) fish behaviour within and immediately surrounding an experimental fish trap situated in a coral reef ecosystem in the United States Virgin Islands. Of the 100 fishes (18 species, 12 families) trapped, surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) and snappers(More)
Disturbances such as tropical storms cause coral mortality and reduce coral cover as a direct result of physical damage. Storms can be one of the most important disturbances in coral reef ecosystems, and it is crucial to understand their long-term impacts on coral populations. The primary objective of this study was to determine trends in disease prevalence(More)
It is suspected that land cover alteration on the southern coast of St. Thomas, USVI has increased runoff, degrading nearshore water quality and coral reef health. Chronic and acute changes in water quality, sediment deposition, and coral health metrics were assessed in three zones based upon perceived degree of human influence. Chlorophyll (p<0.0001) and(More)