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Kauai reef observed to be recovering from disease

  • COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
                                A rice coral colony with black band disease in September 2019 shows dead tissue (1) left behind as the disease’s visible black band (2) progresses into live tissue (3).

    COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    A rice coral colony with black band disease in September 2019 shows dead tissue (1) left behind as the disease’s visible black band (2) progresses into live tissue (3).

Kauai’s Anini Reef is showing signs of recovery after being plagued by a coral disease last year, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a news release today.

A survey conducted by the Division of Aquatic Resources around September of last year found that about 12% of the rice coral and sandpaper coral at Anini Reef was affected by black band disease (BBD) — much higher than its normal prevalence.

Warm water and sediment from the coast are thought to have contributed to coral bleaching, algae mats, low fish abundance, warm surface temperatures and large amounts of sediment on the reef and in the water that were observed along with BBD last year.

Surveys in February and March showed that only about 0.3% of the coral, which is considered normal prevalence, had the disease at Anini Reef.

They also showed recovery of coral bleaching, better water clarity, the presence of more foraging fish and less algae growth.

The death of some corals was likely unable to stave off disease or bleaching, DAR said.

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