tissue loss on M. cavernosa

T D Hickey tdhickey at usgs.gov
Wed Apr 24 09:19:15 EDT 2002

Hi Coral Folks,

I have been involved in a project with Bob Halley and Chris Reich assessing
the effects of Hurricane Mitch on the coral reefs of the Bay Islands,
Honduras. Our last trip was in November and while diving off the island of
Guanaja, I came across this M. cavernosa that appears to be losing its
living tissue rapidly. I have talked with a few local coral experts and the
consensus is, "some call this a white wasting disease" and they have
observed similar outward symptoms in other areas of the Caribbean (i.e.
south Florida and USVI). I have about 1 minute of digital video of this one
particular head (I have not seen this before). In some cases, half of the
polyp has living tissue and the other half is skeleton. The skeleton is
absolutely tissue-free. Is this a type of plague? The literature that I
have found does not mention this syndrome. Do you know anyone that may be
working on this? And of course I must ask the impossible... Has a pathogen
been identified? Please see the below web address for a still image taken
from the video.


Thank you in advance for your time and any information you may provide,

T. Donald Hickey
U.S. Geological Survey
Center for Coastal Studies
600 4th St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 803-8747 ext. 3040
Fax: (727) 803-2032
tdhickey at usgs.gov

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