Black Band Coral Disease Killing Kauai Reefs

If proper action is not taken soon, there may be no coral left in the Kauai, Hawaii reefs due to black band coral disease. Researchers from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources recently surveyed the area and discovered that about 50 percent of the reef beds are affected, causing the reef corals to die off.

Black Band Coral Disease Found In Half Reef Areas

Black band coral disease was first discovered back in 2004. Since then, the issue has progressively gotten worse, with the first large outbreak occurring in 2014. Scientists from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology are now searching for the cause of disease in order to find a way to stop it from spreading.

Researchers noted that out of 47 reef areas in the Kauai region, 23 of them were infested with black band coral disease. However, it does not just affect Hawaiian waters, as it is also found along coral reef areas worldwide in tropical regions. Although no cure has been found, scientists have discovered a way to slow down its spread. Coating the coral with special putty can essentially smother the disease; however, this does not eradicate it.

What Is Black Band Coral Disease?

Black band coral disease gets its name from the black band (black lesions) it causes, which travels down the body of the coral and slowly kills. Three types of Monipora, also called rice coral, are mainly affected, especially in both Anini and Makua beaches on Kauai.

Scientists studying the black band coral disease have isolated three kinds of bacteria in the samples of the dead coral. It is believed that the coral become infected due to stress that lowers their immunity. Thus, the disease can gain a foothold and eventually kill the coral. Scientists have differing opinions about the exact cause of the stress, citing global warming, pollution from the island, and government use of sonar and microwaves, as a few possibilities. It has also been noted that black band coral disease worsens in warmer weather.

Nature is a precious part of the world that we often take for granted. Here’s a look at what Mother Nature has to offer: