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a microbial consortium infection of Pavona sp.

Disease - Mutualism's evil twin

Marine diseases are poorly understood, and a growing global problem.

It is quite a challenge to study disease in the oceans. Pathogens spread through water currents, signs of infection are not always clear, and the limitations of working underwater prevent constant observation of disease from infection to final outcome. Nevertheless, diseases are rapidly spreading in the oceans and we must continue to try to understand what the causative agents are, how they encounter and infect their host species, the physiology of the pathogen-host interaction, host immunity, and how global environmental factors alter these interactions. 



I am particularly curious about disease from the viewpoint of the pathogen. It's a hard-knock life. What's in it for them? What resources do they gain from the host and the surrounding environment? How do they extract these resources?

Relevant Works

1. EB Rivest*, DM Baker, KL Rypien, CD Harvell (2010) Nitrogen preference of Aspergillus sydowii, an infective agent associated with aspergillosis of sea fan corals. Limnology & Oceanography, 55(1), 386-392.


2. KL Rypien, DM Baker (2009) Isotopic labeling and antifungal-resistance as tracers of gut passage of the sea fan pathogen, Aspergillus sydowii. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 86, 1-7


3. CA Page, DM Baker, CD Harvell, Y Golbuu, L Raymundo, SJ Neale, KB Rosell, KL Rypien, JP Andras, BL Willis (2009) Influence of marine reserves on coral disease prevalence. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 87, 135-150


4. A Jordan-Garza, MA Maldonado, DM Baker, R. Rodriquez (2008) High abundance of Diadema antillarum on a Mexican reef. Coral Reefs 27(2), 295.


5. DM Baker, SA MacAvoy, K Kim (2007) Relationship between water quality, δ15N, and aspergillosis of Caribbean sea fan corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 343, 123-130.

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