coral-list-digest V7 #99

Jack Sobel jsobel at
Fri Dec 6 10:27:23 EST 2002

The announcement of the new CHAMP Coral Disease Web-site and NOAA
Fisheries publication of Andrew Bruckner's "Priorities for Effective
Management of Coral Reef Diseases" caught my eye and I was able to
locate both.  I gave both a quick look and they appear very worthwhile,
but raised a question in my mind.  Both the site's coverage (below) and
the report's coverage of Environment and Coral Diseases seemed to
recognize the potential linkage between anthropogenic impacts/decline in
environmental quality (especially water quality) and coral disease, list
a number of potential water quality stressors that may be responsible
and state limited data to support these, but fail to raise fishing or
overfishing impacts as having similar potential linkages to coral
disease outbreaks, although these too have been suggested in published
literature.  Shouldn't this potential linkage also be a priority for
research....especially for a fisheries agency?  If fishing impacts are
connected to coral disease outbreaks, either independently of or
synergistically with water quality, data may remain limited until they
are investigated.

>From CHAMP Coral Disease Site:

Environment and Coral Diseases
One of the most important, yet least understood, aspects of coral
disease is the relationship between disease incidence and the
environment. While it has been suggested that the recent increase in
coral diseases is associated with a decline in reef environmental
quality, very little quantitative work has been carried out in this
area. We now know that five coral diseases are positively correlated
with high water temperature - these are bacterial bleaching, black band
disease, plague, aspergillosis and dark spots disease.  Nutrient
(sewage) input, sedimentation, and runoff have all been cited as
correlated with disease incidence, however in almost all of these
reports no data are provided. Only two quantitative studies to date have
revealed statistical relationships between water quality factors and
disease prevalence. Kim and Harvell (2002) demonstrated positive
correlations between the prevalence of aspergillosis and both elevated
dissolved inorganic nitrogen and slightly lower water clarity. Kuta and
Richardson (in press) found that black band disease incidence was
correlated with elevated concentrations of nitrite (and lower
concentrations of soluble reactive phosphate). This research area is

A. Bruckner's Disease Manuscript link

Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 08:23:16 -0500
From: "Andy Bruckner" <Andy.Bruckner at>

Dear Coral List Readers,

NOAA Fisheries has published a NOAA Technical Memorandum on coral
diseases entitled "Priorities for Effective Management of Coral
Diseases".  This paper was originally developed as a white paper was for
the Coral Disease and Health Consortium workshop held in Charleston last
January, and it is also available as a PDF file on the new CHAMP coral
disease website (

The paper summarizes much of the available information on coral disease
epizootiology, including a compilation of all disease names that have
appeared in the literature, information on the distribution and
prevalence of the major coral diseases affecting  Western Atlantic coral
reefs, rates of tissue loss reported for these coral diseases and
monitoring approaches that have been used to study disease

The paper is divided into two sections: 1) Key priorities for effective
management;  and 2) proposed strategies to address management needs for
coral diseases.  Each of these sections is broken down into seven major

1) Early warning systems
2) The spatial distribution and temporal variations of coral disease
3) Relationships with environmental factors, anthropogenic stresses and
natural disturbances
4) Standardized nomenclature to describe, identify and differentiate
5) Factors that facilitate the occurrence, spread and transmission of
6) Effects on population dynamics, community structure and ecosystem
7) Measures to mitigate disease impacts

Anyone that is interested in receiving a hard copy of the paper please
contact :

Andy Bruckner
Office of Protected Resources
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
andy.bruckner at

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