Porter, J. W.. University of Georgia, jporter@arches.uga.edu
Dustan, P. W.. University of Charleston, pdustan@zeus.cofc.edu
Jaap, W. C.. Florida Marine Research Institute, jaap_w@harpo.dep.state.fl.us
Wheaton, J. Florida Marine Research Institute, wheaton_j@harpo.dep.state.fl.us
Porter, K. G.. University of Georgia, kporter@arches.uga.edu
Patterson, K. L.. University of Georgia, kpatterson@arches.uga.edu
Peters, E. C.. Tetra Tech, Inc., peteres@tetratech-ffx.com
Mueller, E. Mote Marine Laboratory' Pigeon Key Marine Research Center, emueller@mote.org

 
PATTERNS OF DISTRIBUTION AND SPREAD OF CORAL DISEASE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
 
Some reefs in the Florida Keys are experiencing a substantial loss of coral cover and biodiversity due to coral disease. In the most serious case, Carysfort Reef, these losses have accelerated to the point where they threaten ecosystem function. During extensive surveys throughout the Keys in 160 stations at 40 randomly chosen sites, there has been an increase in: (1) the number of stations exhibiting disease, which has risen from 24 stations in 1996, to 98 in 1997, to 131 in 1998 (82% of all stations are now affected, a 446% increase over 1996 values); (2) the number of species affected, which has risen from 9 species in 1996, to 28 in 1997, to 31 in 1998 (76% of all species are now affected, a 244% increase over 1996 values); and (3) coral mortality rate (Carysfort Reef experienced a 62% reduction of living coral cover during the survey). 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. Additional aspects of general coral mortality such as algal-sediment encroachment, and specific complex interactions between bleaching, disease, and predation from the snail, Coralliophila abbreviata, in the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, will be discussed.
 
Day: Thursday, Feb. 4
Time: 10:30 - 10:45am
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS10TH1030S