- The Gulf of Mexico is dying and the newly discovered
virus killing coral in the Gulf is, yet, more evidence of this fact.
- The waters have experienced oxygen level decrease as
exhibited in fish suffering from hypoxia.
- As we continue to kill the waters of the Gulf of Mexico
with pollution from recreational and corporate sources, we shall witness
more die-offs of coral, dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and eventually the
waters now being drilled for oil will be unable to support any marine life.
- Once dead, the Gulf of Mexico will NEVER return. Our
children and grandchildren will never have the chance to enjoy the Gulf.
Gone is gone forever.
- Patricia Doyle
- CORAL REEF KILLS - FLORIDA
- A ProMED-mail post ProMED-mail, a program of the International
Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org
- By Kevin Lollar The News-Press, Florida
- Already under assault from a variety of diseases, algal
blooms, and deadly sponges, the Keys reef tract is facing yet another threat.
Scientists recently have discovered a disease that quickly kills staghorn
coral, a species whose populations are in drastic decline.
- "This is definitely just one more wake-up call that
our reefs are not doing well in some areas and our oceans are sick,"
said Billy Causey, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
"What this tells me is that our reefs are extremely vulnerable, and
what affects them is really complex. There's no one problem."
- NOAA-Fisheries ecologist Margaret Miller and University
of Miami postdoctoral associate Dana Williams discovered the disease in
late April 2003 at White Banks North and White Banks South patch reefs
off Key Largo.
- "We were rather heartbroken," Miller said.
"We were doing basic monitoring of juvenile colonies of staghorn,
and they were growing really well, but then they started dying like flies.
We sort of said, 'Hmm, this looks bad.' Over the next couple of weeks,
mortality progressed very rapidly. We talked to the sanctuary and they
said, 'Hey, something's going on.' "
- Sanctuary officials closed the reefs to all human activity
in July 2003 for 2 months.
- Researchers at Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston,
S.C., are studying infected staghorn tissue but have not determined what
causes the disease. Neither have researchers named it. Staghorn coral
is one of the hardest-hit species in the Keys and throughout the Caribbean
basin. Populations have declined by up to 95 percent in some locations.
- Earlier this month, the Center for Biological Diversity
petitioned the federal government to put staghorn and its close relatives,
fused staghorn and elkhorn, on the Endangered Species List. The disease
also might have infected elkhorn and fused staghorn corals.
- "It's difficult to tell because we don't know exactly
what we're looking at," Williams said. "We've seen disease signs
that look remarkably similar in terms of how it kills. It's definitely
everywhere and probably has been, but at a low level. Then sometimes it
seems to spread more rapidly."
- Historically, staghorn coral's greatest enemy has been
white band disease, but the newly discovered disease kills more quickly.
- "Coral fragments 6 to 8 inches long die within 4
or 5 days," Miller said. "Semi-large colonies, 1/2 a meter to
3/4 of a meter, are 2/3 dead in 2 weeks. It's depressing to watch. By
comparison, white band disease spreads only a few millimeters a day."
- Experiments at White Banks show that a diseased section
of coral can infect a healthy section by direct contact. Miller and Williams
also found that the small coral snail, a natural coral predator, can spread
the disease, but the disease cannot be spread by humans.
- At this point, scientists don't know what the long-term
effects of the disease will be.
- "That's the $64 000 question," Miller said.
"But it's a good reminder that these outbreaks can pop up without
notice, and we don't understand how, when, or where. These outbreaks are
unpredictable and can have a rapid, drastic impact at individual sites."
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health