White Plague in Cuba
richardl at fiu.edu
Thu Jul 12 18:38:03 EDT 2001
Dear Pedro et al. - I have heard reports of white plague type II (what
you're seeing) recently and currently affecting Dichocoenia stokesii and
other corals on reefs in Los Roques, Venezuela; Bermuda; St. Croix; and
Dominica, in late 2000 and now in 2001. This form begins at the bottom of
coral colonies and progresses upwards, with tissue destroyed at rates up to
2 cm per day.
There is now a new form that we are calling plague type III (described in
Richardson, 2000, chapter in book by National Academy of Sciences Press, and
Richardson et al., in press, Hydrobiologia).. This appeared in 1999 on the
same reefs of the northern Florida Keys were Phil Dustan first documented
(and named) plague, and where we documented plague type II. The new form is
even more virulent than plague type II - it attacks only the largest (2 to 3
m) colonies of Colpophyllia natans and Montastraea annularis. It progresses
extremely rapidly, killing these huge colonies in days. Andy Bruckner
reported seeing this new form in Bonaire, and it is also on reefs of St.
John. When the new form is present (at least on the Florida Keys reefs)
Dichocoenia stokesi colonies exhibit, at the most, very early signs of
plague type II (white just at the very bottom of the colony, which does not
progress but contains the pathogen).
I'm sorry to hear about the outbreak in Cuba. I would be very, very
interested to hear if you see the same pattern - infected Dichocoenia
(which, at least on the Florida reefs, recolonizes and grows rapidly)
followed by the form that targets the huge colonies. If you do get plague
type III, Jeff Miller in St. John is having some success stopping the
disease progression by applying underwater epoxy directly on the disease
line. Regards to all, Laurie Richardson
"Dr. Pedro Alcolado" wrote:
> A massive infestation with white plague at least on the reefs of Havana
> coast. Practically all Dichocoenia stokesii are sick and dying.
> Montastraea annularis and cavernosa are also been affected. It is been
> observed since the begining of May (maybe much earlier). The disease
> extends from the border of the colony till covering it completely. Have
> you seen that in other places? We have observed also some white band in
> Acropora cervicornis. These events were observed at 10-15 m deep (we did
> not dive deeper).
> Pedro M. Alcolado
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