Pigmentation changes in Siderastrea spp. during bleaching events in the costal reefs of northeastern Brazil
Costa Sassi,Cristiane Francisca
We report here the occurrence of seasonal changes in the pigmentation of colonies of Siderastrea spp. during bleaching events on coastal reefs in northeastern Brazil. Bleached affected almost 50% of coral colonies analyzed in Cabo Branco reefs (Paraiba state) in the summer of 2005. The same phenomenon was detected along various coastal reefs in northeastern Brazil during the summer of 2007 and 2008. These events were seasonal, and began with the emergence of pale colonies that became pale-pink and then purple during the rainy months. The patterns and intensity of colonies pigmentation changes varied with the studied sites. The decrease in zooxanthellae density and chlorophyll-a content was quantified in the colonies with their pigmentation pattern altered (bleaching). Microbiological analyses revealed higher densities of bacteria in pink colonies (bleached) as compared to brown colonies (normal). Environmental disturbances may lead to the pigmentation changes in Siderastrea spp., but the immediate causes of this phenomenon are not clear and require further investigations.