January 8, 2012
Another Outbreak Of Coral Disease Hits The Reefs Of Kāneʿohe Bay, Oʿahu
Researchers at the Hawai℠i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), an organized research unit in the University of Hawai℠i at MÄnoa´s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology have discovered an outbreak of coral disease called Montipora White Syndrome (MWS) in KÄneÊ¿ohe Bay, OÊ¿ahu.
(MWS) was discovered affecting coral reefs in KÄneÊ¿ohe Bay, OÊ¿ahu. Follow-up surveys found that the disease left trails of rubble in its wake. It was estimated that over 100 colonies of rice coral (Montipora capitata) died during that initial outbreak. The disease has reappeared and is killing corals in KÄneÊ¿ohe Bay. The current outbreak has already affected 198 colonies and a rapid response team led by Dr. Greta Aeby (HIMB) has been activated to document the outbreak. Members of the investigative team include scientists from the University of HawaiÊ¿i, HawaiÊ¿i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), and USGS National Wildlife Health Center. Members of the Eyes of the Reef Network (EOR), a program that trains community members to identify threats to Hawaii´s reefs, are also being asked to report on any signs of disease from other reefs.
Aeby observes that coral disease outbreaks were predicted to occur more frequently on reefs from chronic human stressors and global climate change, she states “it appears that these predictions are becoming a reality for the reefs of KÄneÊ¿ohe Bay. Fortunately for HawaiÊ¿i, resource managers have taken a proactive approach to these threats and have already developed a rapid response plan for coral bleaching and disease events.” Reef resources play an important role in the culture and economy of HawaiÊ¿i and discovering disease cause(s) will help resource managers and scientists develop methods designed to mitigate the impact of outbreaks on Hawaii´s reefs.
Image Caption: A trail of dying, white corals on the reef in KÄneÊ¿ohe Bay March 2010. Credit: Hawai℠i Institute of Marine Biology
On the Net:
- Hawai℠i Institute of Marine Biology
- University of Hawai℠i at MÄnoa´s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
- Eyes of the Reef Network