[Coral-List] Inquiry on Caribbean Acropora recovery accomplishments

William Precht william.precht at gmail.com
Wed Nov 8 09:57:04 EST 2017

Hi Paul,  Yes indeed a disease spread through the Caribbean acroporids
starting in the mid-late 1970's  essentially decimating populations by
1990.  The disease still lingers!

I point you to the following references (see below) - those should cover
both the historical and recent ideas concerning the disease and its

Aronson RB, Precht WF (2001) White-band disease the changing face of
Caribbean coral reefs. Hydrobiologia 460: 25–38.

Bruckner, A.W. 2002. Proceedings of the Caribbean *Acropora* Workshop:
Potential Application of the U.S. Endangered Species Act as a Conservation
Strategy. NOAA Technical Memorandum

NMFS-OPR-24, Silver Spring, MD 199 pp.

Bythell, J.C., and C. Sheppard. 1993. Mass mortality of Caribbean shallow
corals. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 26:296–297.

Gignoux-Wolfsohn, S. A., Marks, C. J., & Vollmer, S. V. (2012). White Band
Disease transmission in the threatened coral, *Acropora cervicornis*.
Scientific reports, 2, 804.

Gignoux-Wolfsohn SA, Vollmer SV (2015). Identification of Candidate Coral
Pathogens on White Band Disease-Infected Staghorn Coral. *Plos one* *10:*

Gil-Agudelo DL, Smith GW, Weil E (2006). The white band disease type II
pathogen in Puerto Rico. *Revista de Biologica Tropical* *54:* 59-67.

Gladfelter, W. B. (1982). White-band disease in *Acropora palmata*:
implications for the structure and growth of shallow reefs. Bulletin of
Marine Science, 32(2), 639-643.

Kline, D. I., & Vollmer, S. V. (2011). White Band Disease (type I) of
endangered Caribbean acroporid corals is caused by pa

Hope that helps to get you started.



On Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 8:43 PM, Paul Muir <paul.muir at qm.qld.gov.au> wrote:

> Just reading the recovery plan for Acropora as I think we’ll need one for
> parts of the GBR/Coral Sea. But I got stuck on this first paragraph:
> “Although quantitative data on former distribution and abundance of these
> species are scarce, in the few locations where quantitative data are
> available (e.g., Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin
> Islands), declines in abundance are estimated at greater than 97 percent.
> The significant loss of population density in both coral species has
> resulted in a reduction of their ability to successfully reproduce, either
> sexually or asexually. Data suggest the decline in Atlantic/Caribbean
> elkhorn and staghorn coral abundances is primarily the result of disease.
> Although disease was the primary cause of initial decline, other threats
> such as elevated seawater temperatures and ocean acidification are credible
> and potentially significant impediments to recovery of these species.”
> Is disease really the official position as to degradation of the
> Caribbean?  And if disease is widely accepted are these primary pathogens
> introduced from elsewhere or are they secondary infections of corals
> weakened by anthropogenic nutrients and sediments/overfishing/development/bleaching
> etc? As many of our GBR/Coral Sea reefs are currently being "Caribbeanized"
> in terms of degradation and loss of Acropora I'm really curious to see what
> the accepted causes are for the Caribbean given that many years have now
> passed.
> Dr. Paul Muir
> Research Officer/ Collection Manager Corals, Biodiversity & Geosciences
> Program
> Museum of Tropical Queensland | Queensland Museum
> 70 – 102 Flinders Street | Townsville | Queensland 4810 | Australia t +61
> 7 47 260 642 | f +61 7 47 212 093 | m +61 407 117 998 Affiliate, Global
> Change Institute, University of Queensland Homepage ResearchGate | Google
> Scholar | Staghorn Corals Website
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces@
> coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Margaret Miller
> Sent: Tuesday, 7 November 2017 10:38 AM
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Inquiry on Caribbean Acropora recovery
> accomplishments
> Dear Atlantic/Caribbean Colleagues,
> We are writing to inform you of the availability of an inventory of
> accomplishments and ongoing projects related to implementing the Recovery
> Plan for Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. The inventory covers
> activities conducted through 2017. The intent is to include all activities
> throughout the US and Caribbean, but we acknowledge that the inventory is
> biased to activities in the US.
> If you know of an activity not listed in the inventory that directly
> addresses the actions in the Recovery Plan, or have any information that
> would supplement a listed activity, please contact Alison Moulding (
> alison.moulding at noaa.gov). We will revise and repost the inventory with
> any additions received by 27 November 2017.
> Background: The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed
> Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis as threatened under the US Endangered
> Species Act in 2006 and published the Recovery Plan in 2015.  The Recovery
> Plan is a guidance document that identifies actions needed to recover the
> species.The Acropora Recovery Implementation Team (an appointed advisory
> body to NMFS) created an inventory of the many accomplishments that have
> been made within these recovery actions. The intent is to make this
> inventory publicly available and to update it on a regular basis to assist
> in prioritizing future recovery efforts and investments.
> Sincerely,
> The Acropora Recovery Implementation Team
> Links:
> Project Inventory (includes summary of Recovery Plan Actions) listed under
> “Hot Topics”:
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/index.html
> Description of Project Inventory
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/
> documents/implementation_table.pdf
> Full Recovery Plan:
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/
> documents/acropora_recovery_plan.pdf
> --
> Margaret W. Miller
> Research Director
> SECORE International
> 614.973.3559
> m.miller at secore.org
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