[Coral-List] Acropora palmata disease & hurricane effects
Dana.Williams at noaa.gov
Mon Aug 8 18:00:55 EDT 2005
The /Acropora palmata/ in the upper Florida Keys has been losing tissue
rapidly since early July when Hurricane Dennis passed to our west (July
9). Surveys of our study sites (n=15) on the 13th and 14th showed
substantial tissue loss along with fragmentation at all sites. We have
not observed any other species in the vicinity to be similarly affected.
Observations by others from Biscayne National Park (to our North) and
the lower Florida Keys indicate that Acropora throughout the Keys are
Based on the lack of algal colonization of the exposed skeleton it is
clear that most of this tissue mortality occured around the time of the
storm or just after. Also, tissue mortality was commonly observed in an
unusual pattern suggestive of water motion or sandblasting though the
skeleton was not abraded.
We are very interested in knowing 1. if other caribbean Acropora palmata
populations are presently suffering high mortality or 2. if anyone has
observed similar mortality of standing colonies (as opposed to
fragments) associated with hurricanes.
I recall a coral list report (last year?) of A. cervicornis mortality
associated with runoff following a hurricane, however the Florida Keys
reefs are several kilometers offshore, so that is not likely the source
of this mortality event.
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