Florida Reef Tract
The Florida Reef Tract is currently experiencing a widespread and lethal coral disease outbreak.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – DEP is working with dozens of partners from federal, state, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and members of the community to investigate and solve this problem.
Their website summarizes the disease response, intervention and rescue efforts across the Florida Reef Tract including numerous references and other key resources.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS): FKNMS is working with scientists, policy makers, and the public to respond to the Coral Disease outbreak in the Florida Keys. Recent news and resources are available in the link above.
See the Florida Keys SCTLD fact sheet for more:
Florida Reef Tract Coral Disease Outbreak
The first signs of what was later recognized as SCTLD along the Jamaican north coast occurred in several Meandrina jacksoni colonies in July 2017, followed by some Dendrogyra cylindrus and Siderastrea siderea in the fall. The prevalence of sick and dying corals on north Jamaican reefs increased dramatically in spring 2018, especially among Pseudodiploria strigosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Colpophyllia natans and, Montastraea cavernosa. By November, SCTLD was observed in the Orbicella species complex.
Updates will be added as more information becomes available.
On July 3, 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 included Meandrina meandrites, Dichocoenia stokesii, Eusmilia fastigiata, Siderastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, Orbicella faveolata, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Siderastrea radians, 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).
*See Biodiversity and Reef Conservation Laboratory’s website for photos and more information about the Mexico Coral Disease outbreak at www.barcolab.org.
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease was first discovered on St Maarten’s coral reefs in October 2018. A 60% infection and mortality rate of the most susceptible species were found in the Nature Foundation’s March 2019 surveys at the Man of War Shoal National Marine Park (MWSNMP). On coral reefs outside the Marine Protected Area, an even higher average is found; At least 70% of the same species were either diseased or dead when surveyed on coral reefs outside MWSNMP in February 2019 (Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, pers. comm.). Below – See the report issued by Nature Foundation St. Maarten on Coral Reef Disease.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
An outbreak of diseased corals with SCTLD was first observed by scientists in January 2019 on the southwestern side of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
The USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources is helping to track the disease and inform the public on how to reduce the spread of the disease.
For more information see: https://dpnr.vi.gov/czm/sctld/
Research on SCTLD is being conducted at the University of the Virgin Islands, for more information visit the VI EPSCoR website
SCTLD was first seen off Cayo Arena near the town of Punta Rucia in early March 2019 by staff at Reef Check Dominican Republic and Maguá Ecological Foundation. The species infected (Colpophyllia natans, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Pseudodiploria strigosa and Siderastrea siderea), and the pattern of infection, follow what has been previously reported for the SCTLD outbreak.
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