Coral Diseases on The Rise!

James M. Cervino cnidaria at
Wed Aug 27 09:16:46 EDT 1997

Dear Colleagues,

I am currently tracking and epizootic in the Caribbean, tearmed Rapid
Wasting Disease and Yellow Blotch or Band.  My data confirms that YB is now
in Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, Cayman. I have not seen it in Grenada, or
Tobago. Does anyone have info reguarding this epizootic??

Also I am looking for a striking fast spreading disease that is affecting
M.annularis and C.natans. Dr. Tom Goreau and I have been tracking this new
disease for the past 7 months, and has slowed down for now, however Yellow
Band Disease has increased. RWD is
seen in shallow depths no deeper that 72 ft and seen predominantly between
20 and 50 ft. The distruction starts on the tops of the multi-lobate
M.annularis coral heads, and starts around the edges of C.natans.  Last
month I returned to my study sites and witnessed the 90% of all the tops of
these species are wiped out by RWD. It either kills the whole coral colony
or stops half way for the Yellow Band Disease to finish the killing
mission. Or the opposite.

I have been sending samples to Dr. Garriet Smith of University of South
Carolina, and is now culturing the samples on a preferred media. The
histology of fixed samples has been conducted by Dr. Ray Hayes, he
completed  microscopic examinations of both species. Sections reveal a
filamentous fungus which appears as a meshwork of individual hyphae
organized into mycelia. The mycelium covers the surface of and impregnatesn
the coral epidermis, excess mucoid production appears to be disrupting the
arrangment. The fungus appears to be disolving the skeleton, the septa and
calix are severly depressed. Whereas the Yellow Band Disease leaves the
skeleton (septa and calix) intact and not depressed.  See Science June 27th
under Random Samples, Ocean Realm summer issue.

Any help would help a great deal?? Also does any one have photos?? I will
announce a lecture and slide presentation that will be held in Woods Hole,
at the MBL or WHOI the latter part of Sept., any one interested in
epizootics should try to make this. I will be showing the detailed spread
of this fast spreading disease, along w/ other diseases in the field, along
w/ video.  please let me know if anyone is interested??

James M. Cervino

James M. Cervino
Marine Biologist
Global Coral Reef Alliance
124-19 9th ave, College Point NY 11356
Phone/Fax 718-539-8155

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