DOI: 10.1177/03009858231189289 ISSN: 0300-9858

An introduction to lesions and histology of scleractinian corals

Aine Hawthorn, Ilze K. Berzins, Michelle M. Dennis, Matti Kiupel, Alisa L. Newton, Esther C. Peters, Vicente A. Reyes, Thierry M. Work
  • General Veterinary

Stony corals (Scleractinia) are in the Phylum Cnidaria (cnidae referring to various types of stinging cells). They may be solitary or colonial, but all secrete an external, supporting aragonite skeleton. Large, colonial members of this phylum are responsible for the accretion of coral reefs in tropical and subtropical waters that form the foundations of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems. Coral reefs worldwide, but particularly in the Caribbean, are experiencing unprecedented levels of disease, resulting in reef degradation. Most coral diseases remain poorly described and lack clear case definitions, while the etiologies and pathogenesis are even more elusive. This introductory guide is focused on reef-building corals and describes basic gross and microscopic lesions in these corals in order to serve as an invitation to other veterinary pathologists to play a critical role in defining and advancing the field of coral pathology.

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