[Coral-List] Bleaching in South-west PRico

Ernesto Weil eweil at caribe.net
Sun Oct 5 19:55:37 EDT 2003

Dear colleagues and list-members,

I just want to add to what Edwin Hernandez and Jeff Miller posted about bleaching in the east coast of PR and the V. Islands. The situation in soutwest PR is very similar. Large numbers of Milleporids, mostly M.alcicornis are bleached at all depth ranges, from 0.5 m to 25 m. They are still alive and in many instances, part of the colony or a side branch has normal coloration.Colonies of coral species such as M.faveolata, M. franksi, S.siderea, C.natans, P.porites, P.astreoides, and few agaricids have some sections pale, but not white. 

On the other hand, there is an epizootic event of white plague in one of our deep sites (20 - 25 m) that is affecting at least ten common coral species.We have been diving in this site since the Fall of last year and even though plague was observed in some colonies then, it was not as spread and active as it is now. Mucus samples of the disease-tissue interface and healthy-looking areas of colonies of each species have been collected and will be tested in Laurie Richardson's lab very soon. 

Temperature patterns have not been different or high (at least at surface levels) than the last several years (I still need to check data loggers at the deep sites). However, as it happens in 2000, we have been having calm seas, low cloud cover (most of the day), gently breezes and a lot of rain in the last couple of months. Patchy necrosis (White pox?) is also back affecting A.palmata  in several of our reef sites.  



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