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Patterns of spread of coral disease in the Florida Keys
Porter, J.W.; Dustan, P.; Jaap, W.C.; Patterson, K.L.; Kosmynin, V.; Meier, O.W.; Patterson, M.E.; Parsons, M. (2001). Patterns of spread of coral disease in the Florida Keys, in: Porter, J.W. (Ed.) (2001). The ecology and ethiology of newly emerging marine diseases. Developments in Hydrobiology, 159: pp. 1-24. dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1013177617800
In: Porter, J.W. (Ed.) (2001). The ecology and ethiology of newly emerging marine diseases. Reprinted from Hydrobiologia 460 (2001). Developments in Hydrobiology, 159. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht. ISBN 1-4020-0240-8. xvi, 228 pp., more
In: Dumont, H.J. (Ed.) Developments in Hydrobiology. Kluwer Academic/Springer: Den Haag. ISSN 0167-8418, more

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Keywords
    Coral reefs; Diseases; ASW, USA, Florida, Florida Keys [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Porter, J.W.
  • Dustan, P.
  • Jaap, W.C.
  • Patterson, K.L.
  • Kosmynin, V.
  • Meier, O.W.
  • Patterson, M.E.
  • Parsons, M.

Abstract
    Reefs in the Florida Keys are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of localities and number of species with coral disease. In extensive surveys from Key Largo to Key West in 160 stations at 40 randomly chosen sites, there has been a dramatic increase in (1) the number of locations exhibiting disease (82% of all stations are now affected, a 404% increase over 1996 values), (2) the number of species affected (85% of all species are now affected, a 218% increase over 1996 values), and (3) the rate of coral mortality (the deep fore-reef at Carysfort experienced a 60% reduction of living coral cover during the survey). Two null hypotheses (1) that the incidence of disease has remained constant through time and (2) that the apparent increase in disease is due to a lack of comparable earlier data, are both falsified. Different diseases exhibit different patterns of spread: some diseases (e.g. black band) exhibit low incidence and jump rapidly between sites; other diseases (e.g. white pox) exhibit patchy distributions and increase in frequency at affected sites from one year to the next. The central question of why so many corals are becoming simultaneously susceptible to a host of marine pathogens remains unanswered.

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