Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor's Name

Laurie L. Richardson

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Miroslav Gantar

Third Advisor's Name

John Makemson

Keywords

Black band disease, cyanobacteria, microcystin

Date of Defense

7-12-2010

Abstract

Black band disease (BBD) is a cyanobacterial dominated pathogenic consortium that affects corals worldwide. Recently two cyanobacteria (Oscillatoria strains 101-1 and 100-1) were isolated into culture from BBD. The aim of this study was to characterize the strains and assess their role in BBD pathogenesis. Light, scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy, coupled with 16S rRNA gene sequencing, were used for taxonomic characterization. Cyanotoxin production was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Toxin identification was performed by high performance liquid chromatography. The ability of the strains to initiate BBD was tested on host coral fragments of Siderastrea siderea and Diploria strigosa under controlled laboratory conditions. Results showed that both Oscillatoria sp. strains caused infection that resulted in complete lysis of coral tissue. Both strains produced a cyanotoxin, identified as microcystin-LR, with production affected by different environmental factors. This study provides evidence that BBD Oscillatoria is a key component in BBD pathogenicity.

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