Meeting Abstract

P3.66  Friday, Jan. 6  A Survey of Distribution and Movement of Cyphoma gibbosum in Relation to the Fungal Pathogen Aspergillus sydowii KRZYKWA, J.C.; New College of Florida

The fungal disease Aspergillus sydowii has been an ongoing epizootic in the Caribbean since its identification in 1995. This disease has had a considerable impact on coral reefs. One potential biological vector of the fungal disease is the gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum, as a previous study has shown that this gastropod was able to pass viable spores of A. sydowii. A study was done to examine the movements of the gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum and the presence of A. sydowii on Gorgonia ventalina and Gorgonia flabellum. Over a two year period, 71 sites were investigated along a portion of shallow (<3m) fringing reef at Los Cayos Cochinos in the Honduran Bay Islands. Fans with C. gibbosum present were identified and visually checked for the presence of A. sydowii. Identification of A. sydowii was done through examination of lesions and purpling around the lesions along the base of the sea fan. A Spearman's rank correlation was performed to determine if gastropods were found more frequently on fans showing signs of infection with A. sydowii than on apparently healthy fans. If C. gibbosum prefers consuming infected corals, and frequently moves among infected and healthy corals it could provide vital information about the movement of the epizootic through coral reefs in the Caribbean.