Apr 02, 2013
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Look beneath the surface of Kauai’s north shore and you’ll see what marine biologists are calling an epidemic.
Video taken from Anini on Kauai’s northeast coast shows coral covered with white bacteria, which is deteriorating much of the reef.
“The disease is a tissue-loss disease,” said USGS Wildlife Disease Specialist Thierry Work. “If you look at these corals, they are losing tissues and we think it’s associated with a cyanobacteria, which is a type of algae that is eating the coral basically.”
Marine biologist Terry Lilley started documenting the disease when he noticed how quickly it was spreading.
” I went all over the north shore to over 60 different dive sites within 30 days,” Lilley said. “Everywhere we went on the north shore, this disease had already killed a lion’s share of the reef.”
The USGS estimates that about six percent of Kauai’s reef has been infected. Before scientists can figure out a cure, they need to find what is causing it.
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