Mystery Disease Kills 80-90%
FL Staghorn Coral Since 1970s

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello, Jeff - Again, I must praise you for posting stories like this one. This article should be in the headlines of every US major newspaper as well as reported on the major networks. In just 30 years, 80 to 90% of staghorn coral in Florida Keys is GONE.
A mere 10 % is left. These numbers are staggering if one realizes how many eons it took for the coral reefs to grow. In the "blink of an eye" gone.
It is possible that the entire reef of Staghorn coral will be gone before 2012. The coral, as well as all marine life is under assult from pollution, algae blooms, sediment, and a host of diseases, among them coral bleaching, black-band and white-band disease, and white plague. Now, this coral tissue-eating disease will surely wipe out the rest of the coral.
It saddens me to read about the plight of our environment and the absolute ignoring of it by the Bush administration. IF George Bush would spend just a minescule amount of the money he spends on his war efforts, we might be able to stop some of the erosion of our planet. His war effort is part of the problem.
Once the planet becomes so unliveable that even marine life cannot thrieve, it won't be long until those of us breathing the polluted air cease to thrieve as well.
Thank you, Jeff Rense, for posting articles about our environment.
Patricia Doyle
From ProMed Mail
Flesh-Eating Disease Kills Staghorn Coral
Las Vegas Sun, Nevada
An unidentified flesh-eating disease is killing staghorn coral in the Florida Keys.
Staghorn coral, so named because of its antler-like branches, is already in steep demise in the Keys. Since the 1970s, 80 to 90 percent of the island chain's reef tract has died, according to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Pollution, algae blooms, sediment, and a host of diseases have been blamed, among them coral bleaching, black-band and white-band disease, and white plague. But this coral-tissue-eating disease appears to be a newcomer.
"A lot of very freshly exposed skeletons alerted me," said Dana Williams, a postdoctoral associate at the University of Miami. "But we have no idea what it is."
The scientists determined that the disease could be spread by the small coral snail, which eats coral, but do not yet know whether humans can transmit it too.
Scientists at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in South Carolina are trying to identify the unknown disease.
Williams and Margaret Miller, an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, first detected bald patches of staghorn at 2 reefs off Key Largo in April 2003. NOAA sealed off the small reefs for 2 months, fearful that the malady could be spread by boats, divers, and snorkelers.
In field tests, scientists pressed fragments of healthy coral against diseased branches, and watched as the 6-8-inch fragments died within 4 to 5 days. The team later detected the disease present in 14 out of 17 sites.
Another survey this past February [2004] revealed that just 10 percent of each infected colony was alive, Williams said.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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