, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 161-165

Extent and effect of Black Band Disease on a Caribbean reef

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Abstract

The effect of Black Band Disease (BBD) among colonies ofMontastrea annularis, M. cavernosa, Diploria strigosa, D. labryinthiformis, S. siderea andColpophyllia natans was determined at 7 shallow locations in the Virgin Islands. Between September 1988 and November 1988, 0.2% of 9204 colonies of these species were infected with BBD in 6908 m2 of reef at 22 randomly chosen areas. Infected colonies were not clumped suggesting that the disease is not highly infectious between colonies. BBD infection rates in areas surveyed 4 times between August 1988 and September 1989 in Greater Lameshur Bay, St. John, USVI, were significantly lower in winter compared to summer. BBDs were found on 5.5% of the colonies ofD. strigosa in Fall 1988, and 7 out of 12 infected colonies lost >75% of their tissue in 6 months. Low level, chronic BBD infections could convert 3.9% of the living cover ofD.strigosa to free space per year, thereby creating substrata for successional processes.