Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Laurie Richadrson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Eric von Wettberg

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Krish Jayachandran

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Christina Kellogg

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Coral, Diploria, Pseudodiploria, microbiome, transcriptomics, SML, mucus, gall crab, chriptochiridae

Date of Defense



Disease and bleaching are two conditions which commonly lead to coral death. Among coral species, susceptibility to disease and bleaching is variable, and Pseudodiploria strigosa tends to be diseased more than Diploria labyrinthiformis, while D. labyrinthiformis bleaches more readily. The focus of this dissertation was to investigate and compare multiple components of these two coral species, and identify how they may relate to disease and bleaching resistance. Compenetnts examined included the surface mucopolysacharide layer (SML) thickness, gene expression, microbial associates, and a white plague aquarium study. The SML thickness decresased with increasing temperature regardless of coral species, indicating that SML thickness does not likely play a role in differences between susceptablities of these two coral species. However, Diploria labyrinthiformis had a lower mortality rate at 31°C, had fewer differentially expressed genes assossiated with stress, and upregulated genes associated with innate immunity in the summer, all of which may contribute to its relative disease resistance. The bacterial associates of each coral species were also monitored. Differences between the two coral species were primarily caused by Clostridia, Gammaproteobacteria, and rare species which may contribute to the relatively higher disease susceptibility of P. strigosa. Lastly, an aquarium study suggested that a potential pathogen of the Roseobacter clade infects both D. labyrinthiformis and P. strigosa, and might be transmitted by the Cryptochiridae gall crab, indicating that potential disease vectors associated with these two coral species may also play a role in disease resistance and resilience.



Appendix A- Corrected.docx (290 kB)
Appendix A

Appendix B- Corrected.docx (51 kB)
Appendix B

Appendix C- Corrected.docx (32 kB)
Appendix C



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