Characterization of Growth Anomalies in Finger Coral (<i>Porites compressa</i>) Using Metabolomics and Trace Elemental Analysis
Coral growth anomalies (GAs) are tumor-like coral lesions, generally characterized by localized increased skeletal growth resulting in an abnormal protuberant mass on a coral colony. There are competing hypotheses of causative factors, including pathogens, UV radiation, and water quality stressors. Although GAs have been characterized in multiple coral species using field surveys and laboratory techniques, the mechanisms responsible for the disruption of the skeletal morphology and associated impacts to coral soft tissues remain unknown. The current study utilizes a combination of <sup>1</sup>H NMR metabolomics and ICP-MS trace element analysis to further characterize these anomalies. Evaluating the metabolome of the disease state in conjunction with complementary trace element data on the skeletal anomalies will provide novel and diverse insight into the biochemistry associated with the disease.