Biological and molecular characterisation of growth anomalies affecting Isopora palifera at the Cocos Keeling Islands
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Growth anomalies are a type of coral disease affecting Isopora palifera at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Traditional diagnostic techniques determined this disease impairs skeletal growth processes and reproductive functioning. DNA metabarcoding showed bacterial associations were broadly similar between affected and healthy hosts, and the outbreak does not appear to be a result of local pollution. The results highlight the complexity of coral disease dynamics and have implications for the future of this isolated reef system.