A deadly pathogen found in seafloor sediment appears to be connected to a devastating coral disease outbreak throughout Florida and the Caribbean, according to marine biologists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
What to know:
A deadly pathogen called stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) causes white lesions and rapid tissue loss to reef-building corals and has been spreading in Florida’s coral reefs as well as the wider Caribbean.
The exact microbial cause of SCTLD is unknown, making it hard to treat and stop.
Suspecting that the deadly microbes may reside in sea sediments, researchers injected reef sediments with SCTLD and exposed healthy corals to them.
Visible signs of the stony coral tissue loss disease began appearing in as little as 24 hours of exposure.
Stony coral tissue loss disease first appeared in waters off Miami in 2014 and has now affected over 20 coral species and killed millions of coral colonies.
This is a summary of the article “Sediments a likely culprit in spread of deadly disease on Florida coral reefs, study finds,” published by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science on January 26, 2022. The full article can be found on news.miami.edu.
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