Unexpected death of the scleractinian Desmophyllum dianthus in northern Patagonian Fjords, Chile

Juergen.Laudien [ at ] awi.de


Fiordo Comau in Northern Patagonia, Chile, is home to a wide range of unique habitats and diverse communities of many new and little understood species. At one site in the fiordo, XHuinay, H2S seeps allow for the formation of filamentous chemosynthetic bacteria mats. Here, two scleractinians, Desmophyllum dianthus and Caryophyllia huinayensis, were once abundant on hard substrate below 18m depth. However, a recent mass mortality of D. dianthus occurred while C. huinayensis continues to survive. This pilot study investigates whether the presence of H2S seeps and their associated bacteria have an affect on D. dianthus mortality. We fixed nine D. dianthus individuals and nine C. huinayensis individuals at 25m depth at two sites: XHuinay and Isla Lilihuapi (control) to monitor their survival under actual conditions. If H2S seeps negatively affect Desmophyllum dianthus survival, then we expect to observe deaths of individuals of D. dianthus at XHuinay and the survival of individuals at Isla Lilihuapi. We also expect C. huinayensis to survive at both sites. This experiment is still in progress. However, this preliminary study emphasizes the need for and seeks to prompt further investigation into these scleractinians, their relationship with both biotic and abiotic environmental factors, and specifically their role within the fragile web of Chilean Fiord ecology.

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Conference (Poster)
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XXXIII Congreso Ciencias del Mar, 27 May 2013 - 30 May 2013, Antofagasta, Chile.
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McConnell, K. , Göhlich, H. , Pörschmann, U. , Bellhoff, D. , Zapata-Hernández, G. , Sellanes, J. , Häussermann, V. , Laudien, J. and Försterra, G. (2013): Unexpected death of the scleractinian Desmophyllum dianthus in northern Patagonian Fjords, Chile , XXXIII Congreso Ciencias del Mar, Antofagasta, Chile, 27 May 2013 - 30 May 2013 .

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