Title: Corals hosting symbiotic hydrozoans are less susceptible to predation and disease
Authors: MONTANO SIMONEFATTORINI SIMONEPARRAVICINI VALERIANOBERUMEN MICHAELGALLI PAOLOMAGGIONI DAVIDEARRIGONI ROBERTOSEVESO DAVIDESTRONA GIOVANNI
Citation: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES vol. 284 no. 1869 p. 20172405
Publisher: ROYAL SOC
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC108892
ISSN: 0962-8452
URI: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1869/20172405
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC108892
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2405
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In spite of growing evidence that climate change may dramatically affect networks of interacting species, whether – and to what extent – ecological interactions can mediate species' response to disturbances is an open question. Here we show how a largely overseen association such as that between hydrozoans and scleractinian corals could be possibly associated with a reduction in coral susceptibility to ever-increasing predator and disease outbreaks. We examined 2450 scleractinian colonies (from both Maldivian and the Saudi Arabian coral reefs) searching for non-random patterns in the occurrence of hydrozoans on corals showing signs of different health conditions (i.e., bleaching, algal overgrowth, corallivory, and different coral diseases). We show that, after accounting for geographical, ecological and co-evolutionary factors, signs of disease and corallivory are significantly lower in coral colonies hosting hydrozoans than in hydrozoan-free ones. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs, and for their conservation in the current scenario of global change, since it suggests that symbiotic hydrozoans may play an active role in protecting their scleractinian hosts from stresses induced by warming water temperatures.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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