[Coral-List] Acropora palmata disease & hurricane effects

Dana Williams 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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