White Plague Alert

Hernandez Edwin coral_giac at yahoo.com
Mon May 6 10:37:50 EDT 2002

Dear coral-listers.

This short notice is to send you an early alert on
White Plague!

On March 27, 2002 a single colony of Montastrea
annularis (columnar morph) showed what appeared to be
a typical lesion of a White Plague II infection.  The
observation was made at Carlos Rosario Beach, within
the Luis Pena Channel Marine Fishery Reserve, Culebra
Island (27 km off northeastern Puerto Rico).

But on May 4, 2002, approximately 40 colonies of M.
annularis where showing similar recent mortality,
higly similar to WP-II in their early stages.  Also,
there was one partially bleached colony of M.
annularis, as well as 5 colonies showing a recent
outbreak of Black Band Disease.  Observations were
made in approximately a 200 x 80 m  area.

This pattern appears to be similar to what we observed
during the 2001 outbreak, very sparse signs of the
disease in late June, and then a major outbreak by
August. However, this year it commenced approximately
3 months earlier than in 2001.

No microbiological samples have been collected yet
because we were not expecting this during our recent
visit.  I plan to collect samples during the following
trip.  Any recommendations on culturing and preserving
bacterial isolates are welcome.

Please, keep your eyes open if you happen to see
anything which may look like WP-II.

Best wishes.


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