" Save Our Reef "

" To protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing
environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving tourism industry. "

English | Thai Register | Sign in

Coral Disease

  Scientists have been finding disease in coral and sea fan colonies for many years throughout the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The different types of disease include white band, black band and brown band. They may be caused by bacteria, ciliates or fungus. Injury not only in terms of colony mortality, but also due to the diversion of energy away from growth, sexual reproduction, and defense system against secondary pathogens, bioeroders and fouling organism. In Thailand, fungus Aspergillus infection has been identified at the Similian Islands, where it caused sea fans at "Fantasy Reef" to die off some years ago.

  Last year, on the East coast of Racha Yai, double star coral (Diploastrea heliopora) was found to be infected by white band disease which was not yet widespread. The characteristics of white band disease differ from those of damage caused by crown-of-thorns starfish. The white band is typically 1 to 2 inches wide, and is purely white and very clean. In the picture below, the white band of coral has probably been dead a few days. The coral beyond this band is also dead, but has filamentous algae growing on it, indicating this coral has been dead for at least a week. This demonstrates how the disease will invade living tissue, and can affect an entire colony.

  As of now, the origin of this disease is unknown. It is likely to be caused by degrading water quality in these oceans. Waste water from tour boats and waste water flushed from the mainland could be a driving force in water quality reduction.

  The Phuket Marine Biological Center plans to cooperate with scientists from the United States to gain more understanding of coral disease and to work towards finding a solution and/or prevention strategies.