Title

Southeast Florida Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Intervention Efficiency

Start

2-25-2022 3:45 PM

End

2-25-2022 4:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral Presentation

Abstract

The presence and abundance of reef-building corals is crucial to the long-term existence of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems, which provide both direct and indirect, local and global, ecological, economic, and social benefits. Currently, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is spreading unabated throughout many Caribbean locales. While the pathogen is still unknown, progress has been made in developing in-situ treatments to save live coral tissue. Smothering the disease lesion with an antibiotic coral paste is effective at stopping disease progression over 90% of the time. Although effective, this is labor intensive and expensive. One way to reduce cost is to increase efficiencies in finding and treating diseased corals. Reefs that are novel to the disease may have many infected corals in close proximity, making these treatments highly efficient. However, once disease moves through highly susceptible species it becomes spatially and temporally sporadic, creating challenges to focusing disease intervention efforts. Intervention activities were examined over a 3-year period to evaluate spatial and temporal disease intervention efficiencies.

Since 2018 in the Coral Ecosystem Conservation Area (ECA), over 1,100 colonies were treated with over 750 m of treatment at over 280 sites. Intervention sites were chosen based on previous information, citizen reports, or haphazardly to fill in spatial gaps where no previous treatments occurred. At each site, divers towed a GPS buoy while recording disease, treatments, treatment times and counting healthy colonies along the track. GPS tracks were trimmed to bottom start and end times. Treated corals were located on the GPS track by their treatment time. Treatment efficiency was calculated using the number of treated corals divided by the GPS track length. Dive tracks were loaded into ArcGIS Pro to analyze disease prevalence patterns. Total effort and efficiency of treatments were then analyzed in ArcGIS Pro and R showing greater effort in the summer, but higher efficiency in the winter.

This study provides insights to disease intervention methods to maximize the number of corals treated per day. This illustrates spatial patterns of disease that corroborate other analyses showing high disease prevalence in north Miami-Dade and central Broward counties.

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Feb 25th, 3:45 PM Feb 25th, 4:00 PM

Southeast Florida Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Intervention Efficiency

The presence and abundance of reef-building corals is crucial to the long-term existence of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems, which provide both direct and indirect, local and global, ecological, economic, and social benefits. Currently, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is spreading unabated throughout many Caribbean locales. While the pathogen is still unknown, progress has been made in developing in-situ treatments to save live coral tissue. Smothering the disease lesion with an antibiotic coral paste is effective at stopping disease progression over 90% of the time. Although effective, this is labor intensive and expensive. One way to reduce cost is to increase efficiencies in finding and treating diseased corals. Reefs that are novel to the disease may have many infected corals in close proximity, making these treatments highly efficient. However, once disease moves through highly susceptible species it becomes spatially and temporally sporadic, creating challenges to focusing disease intervention efforts. Intervention activities were examined over a 3-year period to evaluate spatial and temporal disease intervention efficiencies.

Since 2018 in the Coral Ecosystem Conservation Area (ECA), over 1,100 colonies were treated with over 750 m of treatment at over 280 sites. Intervention sites were chosen based on previous information, citizen reports, or haphazardly to fill in spatial gaps where no previous treatments occurred. At each site, divers towed a GPS buoy while recording disease, treatments, treatment times and counting healthy colonies along the track. GPS tracks were trimmed to bottom start and end times. Treated corals were located on the GPS track by their treatment time. Treatment efficiency was calculated using the number of treated corals divided by the GPS track length. Dive tracks were loaded into ArcGIS Pro to analyze disease prevalence patterns. Total effort and efficiency of treatments were then analyzed in ArcGIS Pro and R showing greater effort in the summer, but higher efficiency in the winter.

This study provides insights to disease intervention methods to maximize the number of corals treated per day. This illustrates spatial patterns of disease that corroborate other analyses showing high disease prevalence in north Miami-Dade and central Broward counties.