A Mysterious Disease Is Killing Hawaii’s Coral
November 28, 2012
"Conservationists and divers alike are on edge over a mysterious disease sweeping through coral reefs in Kauai. Since June, a strange milky growth has been rapidly spreading around the island’s reefs. The Los Angeles Times reports:
The growth, identified by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey as both a cyanobacterial pathogen — a bacteria that grows through photosynthesis — and a fungus, is killing all the coral it strikes, and spreading at the rate of 1 to 3 inches a week on every coral it infects.
Scientists are at a loss as 50- to 100-year-old corals succumb to the disease, which has compromised an entire reef system for 60 miles. The new disease, which first appeared in 2004 but only at very low levels, shows no signs of abating any time soon. Researchers say the problem picked up following two years of heavy sedimentation arriving from a nearby river, which scientists suspect may be traced to upstream development and especially heavy rains."
To read the full text of this article, click here.