White Plague Alert #2
coral_giac at yahoo.com
Thu May 23 00:42:02 EDT 2002
Just a follow up short notice to inform you about the
White Plague outbreak going on Culebra Island, Puerto
An increasing frequency of corals was found during a
routine dive last Friday (May 17, 2002) to be actively
infected by the White Plague (possibly Type II). So
far, only the columnar morph of Montastrea annularis
is the only species affected. This resembles the 1998
outbreak in Culebra in the sense that M. annularis was
the only species affected in our study sites.
However, since 1996 this has been the earliest time of
the year where such a major outbreak has been
detected. There were small events during the late
summer-fall of 1996, 1997 and a major outbreak during
the late summer of 1998. The 2001 outbreak occurred
during the middle of the summer. But this year, the
first impacted colony was observed by March 27, 2002,
with an increasing frequency by late April.
To my knowledege, this has been the only report of WP
during this year in the Caribbean. We are planning an
expedition during next week to assess the actual
extent and impacts of the disease. Also, during the
first week of June plan to collect tissue samples for
Please, I'd like to recieve reactions from other
colleagues through the Caribbean. I'm just wondering
why are we having this local event in Culebra, but so
far, nowhere else in Puerto Rico or the rest of the
Caribbean! Any thougths about alternatives to stop the
disease progression? Is there any way that we can
stick some kind of antibiotics to the coral surface?
We plan to carry out some experiments about this
Please, answer directly to me. Thanks in advance.
Edwin A. Hernandez-Delgado, Ph.D.
University of Puerto Rico
Department of Biology
Coral Reef Research Group
P.O. Box 23360
San Juan, P.R. 00931-3360
Tel (787) 764-0000, x-4855; Fax (787) 764-2610
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