Kirsten Orobitg

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Coral reefs are important ecosystems that sustain marine biodiversity and serve as a critical economic resource. Unfortunately, the increased prevalence of coral disease is decimating reef populations. Disease exposure triggers an intracellular stress response within corals, involving antioxidants and melanin synthesis, that is mitigated by their innate immunity. The overarching purpose of this project is to investigate why some coral species survive better than others when exposed to a disease. To do this, the variability in stress response between seven Caribbean coral species—Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella annularis, Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea cavernosa, Siderastrea siderea, Porites porites, and Porites astreoides—after exposure to white plague disease was quantified using immunoassays. The assays measured the activity levels of two antioxidants (catalase and peroxidase) and a melanin synthesis cascade precursor (prophenoloxidase). This data will provide insight into why some coral species are resistant to disease, while others are susceptible.

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.