Document Type




First Advisor's Name

Laurie L. Richardson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles Bigger

Third Advisor's Name

DeEtta Mills


Black Band Disease, Coral, Bermuda, Diploria, Temperature, Irradiance, Microbial Communities, LH-PCR

Date of Defense



On the reefs of Bermuda, the coral Diploria labyrinthiformis is rarely infected with black band disease (BBD) while BBD-infected colonies of D. strigosa are common. This study investigated several possible explanations for the documented difference in BBD prevalence including: 1) temperature and light conditions differentially affect the progression of the disease among these two species; 2) the bacterial communities associated with each species are different and 3) the bacterial composition of BBD in Bermuda is unique from that of other geographical regions where D. labyrinthiformis has been reported with BBD. Results suggest that light and temperature are important variables in determining BBD progression for both species; reef location, rather than coral species dictates the coral associated bacterial diversity; and the BBD bacterial mat in Bermuda is unique compared to other regions of the Caribbean. Many factors are likely responsible for the low occurrence of BBD among D. labyrinthiformis in Bermuda.





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