problems in Cuban coral reef

Billy Causey billy.causey at
Thu Jun 1 00:30:14 EDT 2000

Dear Elena,
During the massive 1987 coral bleaching in the Florida Keys (which was also
reported in other parts of the Caribbean and the Pacific), I documented large
mats of purplish colored "algae" covering the sand bottom.  At the time I
thought it was a "blue-green" algae, but noticed at the time it looked very
similar to the cyanobacterium (black band) that was abundant on the coral
heads.  I have video of the mats which were very extensive and completely
covered the sand bottom.  There were also mats on the reef itself.

Feel free to contact me directly if you want more information.  Cheers, Billy

Elena wrote:

> "During a recent visit to the Canarreos reefs in the Punta Frances =
> region of southern Cuba we were disturbed to find that many of the =
> corals of these formerly-pristine reefs were badly damaged by what =
> appears to be a cyanophyte infection. Some dead colonies were covered by =
> algae, some showed signs of recent mortality and others are dying now. =
> It is our impression that the layer of cyanophytes covers the bottom, =
> the algae, the corals and the sponges. The cyanophyte is red, like the =
> color of dark red wine. The only activities in the area are fishing =
> (which is illegal) and sport diving".
> We would like to know if a similar phenomenon has been observed =
> elsewhere in the Caribbean, either now or in the past.
> Elena de la Guardia Llanso
> Centro de Investigaciones Marinas,=20
> Universidad de la Habana

Billy D. Causey, Superintendent
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
PO Box 500368
Marathon, FL 33050
Phone (305) 743.2437, Fax (305) 743.2357

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