, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 689-693,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Jun 2007

Impact of the 2005 coral bleaching event on Porites porites and Colpophyllia natans at Tektite Reef, US Virgin Islands


A thermal stress anomaly in 2005 caused mass coral bleaching at a number of north-east Caribbean reefs. The impact of the thermal stress event and subsequent White-plague disease type II on Porites porites and Colpophyllia natans was monitored using a time series of photographs from Tektite Reef, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. Over 92% of the P. porites and 96% of the C. natans experienced extensive bleaching (>30% of colony bleached). During the study, 56% of P. porites and 42% of C. natans experienced whole-colony mortality within the sample plots. While all whole-colony mortality of P. porites was directly attributed to coral bleaching, the majority (82%) of the C. natans colonies that experienced total mortality initially showed signs of recovery from bleaching, before subsequently dying from White-plague disease type II.

Communicated by Environment Editor R. van Woesik.