Another outbreak of coral disease has damaged the reefs of Kane’ohe Bay, O’ahu.
In March 2010, an outbreak of acute Montipora White Syndrome (MWS) destroyed over 100 colonies of rice coral, Montipora capitata. The same disease has reappeared and is killing corals again in Kane’ohe Bay. To date, the outbreak has affected 198 colonies. A rapid response team led by Dr. Greta Aeby has been called to document the outbreak. The team includes scientists from the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and USGS National Wildlife Health Center.
Additionally, members of the Eyes of the Reef Network, a program that trains community members to identify threats to the reefs, are also being asked to help.
Dr. Aeby’s team has determined that MWS only affects rice corals. Lab experiments suggests that it is caused by pathogenic bacteria, and work is underway to determine other environmental variables that may contribute to the outbreaks.
“Fortunately for Hawaii, resource managers have taken a proactive approach to these threats and have already developed a rapid response plan for coral bleaching and disease events,” said Aeby.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC.