Thursday, April 9, 2020

New Coral Disease Outbreak Hits Grand Bahama

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), a new coral disease outbreak, poses the single greatest threat to roughly half the coral species in The Bahamas. The disease has spread over vast areas of shallow reefs in Grand Bahama. Photo courtesy of the Perry Institute for Marine Science.

A new, rapidly spreading outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) has quietly infiltrated nearly 40 miles of Grand Bahama’s southern coastline, killing a wide range of coral including some that are already endangered. “Corals are the engineers that build the entire marine ecosystem. Without them the ecosystem collapses. The reefs lose their function. It makes a fundamental change in the ecosystem from what we’ve seen in the past,” said Dr Craig Dahlgren, a marine ecologist with the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) who led the research investigation last month. ”The greatest infection rates and greatest amount of mortality were close to Freeport, close to the port. For some species, 90 percent of the corals were either dead or dying. It was very widespread at that point. In those severe cases, there is little you can do to help those corals.”  Read more >>