Hawaii coral reef infection

This video is called Hawaii Reef Etiquette.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

In Hawaii, a coral reef infection has biologists alarmed

A mysterious growth has been spreading under the waters of Hanalei Bay and elsewhere on Kauai’s north shore. It’s killing all the coral it strikes, and scientists can’t stop it.

By Kim Murphy

November 27, 2012, 5:00 a.m.

HANALEI, Hawaii — When compiling a list of places that may be described as paradise, Hanalei Bay on the rugged north shore of the island of Kauai surely qualifies.

The perfect crescent bay, rimmed by palm trees, emerald cliffs and stretches of white sand, has always had a dreamy kind of appeal. It was on these shores that sailors in the movie “South Pacific” sang of the exotic but unattainable “Bali Ha’i.”

The problem is what lies below the surface of the area’s shimmering blue waters.

Since June, a mysterious milky growth has been spreading rapidly across the coral reefs in Hanalei and the surrounding bays of the north shore — so rapidly that biologist Terry Lilley, who has been documenting the phenomenon, says it now affects 5% of all the coral in Hanalei Bay and up to 40% of the coral in nearby Anini Bay. Other areas are “just as bad, if not worse,” he said.

The growth, identified by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey as both a cyanobacterial pathogen — a bacteria that grows through photosynthesis — and a fungus, is killing all the coral it strikes, and spreading at the rate of 1 to 3 inches a week on every coral it infects.

“There is nowhere we know of in the entire world where an entire reef system for 60 miles has been compromised in one fell swoop. This bacteria has been killing some of these 50- to 100-year-old corals in less than eight weeks,” Lilley said. “Something is causing the entire reef system here in Kauai to lose its immune system.”

The discovery of the new coral disease is only one of a number of ailments afflicting nearly all the world’s coral reefs, which are threatened by poisonous runoff, rising oceans, increasingly acidic waters and overfishing.

But this one could jeopardize a multibillion-dollar tourist industry in Hawaii, which depends on the stunning displays of color and wildlife for divers and snorkelers. That is especially true along the beaches of Kauai, where the north shore with a few exceptions remains a place of pristine natural beauty.

Nearly every coral reef could be dying by 2100 if current carbon dioxide emission trends continue, according to a new review of major climate models from around the world: here.

8 thoughts on “Hawaii coral reef infection

  1. here’s how to start making a dent on the reefs btw. STOP WEARING CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN. Stop golfing!!! Stop Monsanto! Stop pesticides! Herbicides! Poisoning the waterways! & stop divers from spreading viruses by not cleaning their gear!


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