Coral Disease Outbreak – Mexican Caribbean

Yucatan, Mexico

July 3, 2019 – Researchers from UNAM and CONANP discovered a reef near Puerto Morelos, Mexico to have a severe outbreak of coral disease affecting similar species and exhibiting similar patterns as those in Florida.

Since then, several teams have been surveying the coastline and have found numerous other reefs affected by SCTLD. They found the ten most affected coral species were Meandrina meandrites, Dichocoenia stokesii, Eusmilia fastigiata, Siderastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, Orbicella faveolata, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Siderastrea siderea, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Montastraea cavernosa.*

In addition, several treatment methods are being tested to reduce the spread of SCTLD on affected corals.

In this map, circles show sites surveyed by Healthy Reefs Initiative, the stars are sites surveyed by partner groups. Orange color shows where SCTLD was present, green color are reefs where disease was not present yet (map provided by M. Soto, HRI).

Ambitious research, treatment, genetic banking and monitoring projects for SCTLD are included in a comprehensive action plan for the Mexican Caribbean that also incorporates improved tourism practices, coastal zone development, water management and fishing practices.

A temporary and partial suspension of tourism and recreational activities was enacted in the southern area of the Cozumel Reef National Park on September 23, 2019. See News Item : Cozumel Conservation Strategy

More Information

*See Biodiversity and Reef Conservation Laboratory’s website for photos and more information about the Mexico Coral Disease outbreak at

*See Alvarez-Filip L., N. Estrada-Saldívar, E. Pérez-Cervantes, A. Molina-Hernández and F.J. González-Barrios. 2019. A rapid spread of the stony coral tissue loss disease outbreak in the Mexican Caribbean. PeerJ 7:e8069 DOI 10.7717/peerj.806.