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Title

Aspergillus sydowii and other potential fungal pathogens in Gorgonian Octocorals of the Ecuadorian Pacific

AuthorsSoler-Hurtado, M. Mar; Sandoval-Sierra, J. V.; Machordom, Annie ; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier
Issue Date30-Nov-2016
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 11(11): e0165992 (2016)
AbstractEmerging fungal diseases are threatening ecosystems and have increased in recent decades. In corals, the prevalence and consequences of these infections have also increased in frequency and severity. Coral reefs are affected by an emerging fungal disease named aspergillosis, caused by Aspergillus sydowii. This disease and its pathogen have been reported along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia. Despite this, an important number of coral reefs worldwide have not been investigated for the presence of this pathogen. In this work, we carried out the surveillance of the main coral reef of the Ecuadorian Pacific with a focus on the two most abundant and cosmopolitan species of this ecosystem, Leptogorgia sp. and Leptogorgia obscura. We collected 59 isolates and obtained the corresponding sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacers (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA. These were phylogenetically analyzed using MrBayes, which indicated the presence of two isolates of the coral reef pathogen A. sydowii, as well as 16 additional species that are potentially pathogenic to corals. Although the analyzed gorgonian specimens appeared healthy, the presence of these pathogens, especially of A. sydowii, alert us to the potential risk to the health and future survival of the Pacific Ecuadorian coral ecosystem under the current scenario of increasing threats and stressors to coral reefs, such as habitat alterations by humans and global climate change.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/146876
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0165992
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165992
issn: 1932-6203
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