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The good, the bad and the smelly: USGS at the 2008 Coral Reef Symposium
Date:7/7/2008

nor levels of barium, USGS researchers examined the presence of this element in Moloka'i's coral skeletons as an indicator of coral reef health. Scientists also investigated the effects of infrequent, large-scale events such as Kona Storms and modification of the coastline. Coral geochemical results show an alongshore barium presence indicative of local runoff and sediment transport from the trade winds as well as reduced barium levels due to the impediment of sediment accumulation west of the wharf. The researchers compared these results with historical information from adjacent watersheds to compare present-day conditions with those of the past several decades. For more information, contact Nancy Grumet Prouty at 831-427-4726, nprouty@usgs.gov or Michael Field at 831-427-4737, mfield@usgs.gov.

The Origin of Aspergillus Sydowii, a Common Disease of Caribbean Corals: Coral reefs are increasingly suffering outbreaks of disease, causing dramatic declines in population abundance and diversity. One of the best-characterized coral diseases is aspergillosis, caused by the fungus Aspergillus sydowii. A. sydowii is a globally distributed fungus commonly found in soil, so its presence in marine systems raises questions about its origin. By using microsatellite markers, researchers analyzed the population structure of A. sydowii from diseased sea fans, diseased humans and environmental sources worldwide. The results indicate that A. sydowii forms a single global population, with low to moderate genetic differences between the disease found in sea fans and the same fungus from environmental sources. Past researchers have suggested that A. sydowii originates from African dust blown into the Caribbean, and have identified Aspergillus from dust samples, although often only to the genus level. To test this, researchers isolated fungi from dust samples collected in Mali and St. Croix. Although a diversity of fungi was documen
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Contact: Catherine Puckett
cpuckett@usgs.gov
352-264-3532
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

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