[Coral-List] Coralline Algae Lethal Disease AKA Goreau's Disease AKA Algae White Disease

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Thu Nov 1 08:09:18 EDT 2007

Dear Ernesto,

Thanks for the correction. I had not seen any of your papers, as I  
don't have access to a library and can't afford a subscription to  
Coral Reefs. Could you please send me a copies of your papers?

I have been showing people CALD in the field since 1991-2, and had  
Mark and Diane Littler confirmed my opinion soon after, once they  
realized that this was indeed a systematic and very widespread  
phenomenon, which is why Esther called it Goreau's Disease on her web  
site years ago.

But until you mentioned it in the AMLC meetings in St. Thomas and  
Aldo identified in a photograph, I had no idea that anyone else had  
noticed it, although I was surprised not to have had more reports  
sooner since it is so noticeable that it was only a matter of time! I  
never had time to put my data together, and anyway can't as I can't  
afford the hardware or software to grab the frames from my video  
showing it all over the world, probably at more than 50 locations.

I congratulate you, Dave Ballantine, Aldo Croquer, and others for  
independently finding it and for have the resources to document it.  
It will be most interesting to find out what causes it, which I have  
been wanting to do for 16 years, but we have never had the funds to  
follow up with the micrrobiology.

Best wishes,

On Nov 1, 2007, at 12:17 AM, EWeil wrote:

> Dear Tom,
> We are not calling this CCA syndrome "algae white disease" as you  
> mention. Because the publication where you say this problem was  
> described in 1991 was not readily accesible when we were checking  
> the literature, and we found no other reference in peer reviewed  
> publications, we described it  as "coralline white band  
> syndrome" (CCWS) in a note in Coral Reefs in 2005 (Ballantine D ,  
> E. Weil and H. Ruiz (2005). Coralline white band syndrome, a  
> coralline algal affliction in the tropical Atlantic. Coral Reefs  
> 24:117). This afection is also mentioned in a review ms in chapter  
> 2 of the book Coral Health and Disease (2004) edited by Rosemberg  
> and Loya, and in the special Issue of DAO on coral reef diseases  
> which has papers presented in the coral disease mini-symposium at  
> the Okinawa coral reef symposium (Weil E, GW Smith and D Gil- 
> Agudelo 2006. Status and progress in coral reef disease research.  
> Dis Aqua Org, Vol. 69:1-7). I have observed different species of  
> CCA with simlar signs (the thin, concentric white band)  in many  
> distant geographic reefs in the Pacific (Australia, Palau,  
> Philippines) Indonesia, east Africa (Kenya and Zanzibar) and the  
> Caribbean. We are currently monitoring it as part of our surveys of  
> 18 reefs in six countries in the wider Caribbean. As part of our  
> CRES project in Puerto Rico,  I have collected information for  
> several years on its prevalence, distribution, host range and rate  
> of advance (CCA mortality) in several reefs off La Parguera to  
> characterize its spatial and temporal variability (to be published  
> in the near future).  Hope this clarifies the issue of using  
> different names.
> Saludos!
> Dr. Ernesto Weil
> Department of Marine Sciences
> University of Puerto Rico
> PO BOX 3208
> Lajas PR 00667
> Pho: (787) 899-2048 x. 241
> Fax: (787) 899-5500 - 2630
> ------- Original Message -------
> From : Thomas Goreau[mailto:goreau at bestweb.net]
> Sent : 10/31/2007 5:16:26 PM
> To : croquereef at gmail.com; Coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Cc : eweil at caribe.net; cnidaria at earthlink.net;  
> esther.peters at verizon.net; LITTLERM at si.edu; littlerd at gmail.com
> Subject : RE: Coralline Algae Lethal Disease AKA Goreau's Disease  
> AKA Algae White Disease
> Dear Aldo and Coral List readers,
> This slow spreading disease of encrusting red calcareous algae  
> expands in circular lesions, but often stops short of killing the  
> whole alga. It is distinguished by a white expanding ring, usually  
> a millimeter or two wide, but in some cases up to a centimeter  
> wide, with a sharp rim against the external pink or purplish  
> encrusting red calcareous alga, The interior of the expanding  
> circle is made up of a fine filamentous alga with a very  
> distinctive olive green color.
> I have documented it globally since 1991. I have many images on  
> video and a few photographs showing it all around the Caribbean,  
> Indian Ocean, Pacific, and South East Asia, but have never had the  
> time to compile them.  However I have seen rare examples of it on  
> much older photographs, so while it is not genuinely a "new'  
> disease, it has certainly greatly expanded in the last 15 years.
> I first noticed that this disease had spread very rapidly in the  
> intertidal sea level notch in Negril, Jamaica, over a few months  
> around 1991-2, and named it Coralline Algae Lethal Disease *CALD),  
> by analogy with the Littler's Coralline Lethal Orange Disease  
> (CLOD). Subsequently the encrusting reds in this habitat were  
> overgrown and killed by fleshy algae as the area became eutrophic  
> and algae spread all over the reef (NB: algae overgrew the reefs in  
> Negril only in the early 1990s, after tourism development and NOT  
> after the Diadema die off in 1983, or the earlier overfishing, as  
> popular "phase shift" mythology claims).  Later Esther Peters  
> mentioned it on her web site and called it "Goreau's Disease", a  
> name I 'd rather see confined to something that is completely  
> lethal and affects only politicians and their scientific servants.  
> CALD is what Ernesto Weil and yourself have recently noticed and  
> are now calling Algae White Disease.
> I wrote a paper describing this around 1992 in a report on  
> environmental changes in western Jamaica published in the  
> proceedings of a conference held by the Negril Coral Reef  
> Preservation Society. I don't have either a xerox or a scanned copy  
> available, and the original is someplace in the mountain of boxes  
> in my basement, that is to say, effectively unreachable. It took me  
> a couple of years to convince Mark and Diane Littler that this was  
> in fact a disease they had not noticed before, and they now agree  
> that it is far more widespread than CLOD.
> Since CALD is so widespread, and I don't have time to compile my  
> observations, I'm now forwarding this to the coral list server to  
> see if other people are also noticing it. I'm sure it is present  
> almost every place where encrusting red algae have not yet been  
> totally smothered by eutrophic fleshy algae, although it's  
> frequency varies greatly from site to site.
> Best wishes,
> Tom
> Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
> President
> Global Coral Reef Alliance
> 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
> 617-864-4226
> goreau at bestweb.net
> http://www.globalcoral.org

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

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