"Yellow-Band" Disease.....(was Coral Diseases on The Rise!)

Jan Korrubel korrubelj at math.unp.ac.za
Thu Aug 28 06:05:07 EDT 1997

Dear Dr Cervino and fellow Coral-Listers,

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??

>> I, and a colleague have a 'reef site' paper in press at this moment with
CORAL REEFS on a coral disease that we named 'yellow-band disease'
(obviously because of it's striking colour!).  At the end of this message, I
attached the entire text of this paper for your information.   The paper
mentions coral species infected, and rates of spread (this thing is fast!!).
>> At this stage we do not know what causes this disease.

>> We found the disease in the southern Arabian Gulf, off the coast of
the United Arab Emirates.  It appears that I may have another trip coming
up fairly shortly, so if you, Dr Cervino, would like to contact me with
regards to getting some samples, please get in touch.
>> I also have many pictures - mainly print, very few slides
unfortunately, but I'd be willing to scan them them in for anybody who
might be interested.


Jan Korrubel
University of Natal
South Africa

-----  Attached MS due to appear in CORAL REEFS  --------------------
-----  Please do cite (yet) without the authors permission  -------------


(Coral Reefs - Submitted 5/9/96)

During an ecological survey of coral communities at Jebel Ali in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates, a high incidence of coral diseases was observed. 
Although a coral disease has been reported from the Gulf of Oman
(Coles 1994), this is a first report for coral diseases in the Arabian Gulf. 
The encountered diseases were the well described Black Band and
White Band Diseases (Antonius, 1995) and a hitherto undescribed
disease, which we refer to as Yellow-Band Disease.
It manifests itself as a broad yellow band moving across healthy coral
tissue in a manner similar to the Black Band disease (Rutzler, Santavy
and Antonius, 1983) insofar as where the yellow band actively moves
into healthy tissue areas, a band of decaying and sloughing off tissue is
observed.  However, the entire area denuded by the infection can retain
the characteristic yellow colour.  The Yellow Band Disease appears to
be in no way similar to the Aggressive Orange Band recently described
by Littler and Littler (1994), which attacks coralline algae.  Investigations
into establishing the pathogen are underway.
Preliminary measurements indicate that within colony spreading rates (on
Acropora clathrata) are faster in summer (x = 19.7 q 4.9 mm per week,
measured mid October), than in winter (x = 9.4 q 3.9 mm per week,
measured beginning February).  Disease spread is significantly different
between these seasons (Mann-Whitney U-Test, Z = 2.67, P < 0.001).
Species found to be affected by Yellow Band Disease were: Acropora
clathrata, A. pharaonis, A. tenuis, A. valida, A. florida, Porites lutea, P.
lichen, P. nodifera, Turbinaria reniformis, Cyphastrea microphthalma. 

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge funding assistance by the Dubai
Municipality and Charles Martin of Martin Mid East for the opportunity to
work in Gulf waters, and for logistical support.

Antonius A (1995). Pathologic syndromes on reef corals: a review.  In:
Geister J, Lathuillere B (eds) Coral reefs in the past, the present and the
future. Proc 2nd Europ Regional Meeting, ISRS.  Publ  Serv  Geol Lux, 29:
Coles, S. L.  1994.  Extensive coral disease outbreak at Fahl Island, Gulf
of Oman, Indian Ocean.  Coral Reefs 13: 242.
Littler MM, Littler DS (1994) A pathogen of reef-building coralline algae
discovered in the South Pacific.  Coral Reefs 13(4): 202.
Rutzler K, Santavy DL, Antonius A (1983) The Black Band Disease of
Atlantic reef corals. III Distribution, Ecology, and development. PSZNI
Marine Ecology 4(4): 329-358.

Jan L. Korrubel.  Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics,
University of Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209  Pietermaritzburg,
South Africa.
Bernhard Riegl. Institute for Palaontologie, Universitats-straBe 7, 1010
Vienna, Austria.


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