Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Marine Science

First Advisor

Brian K. Walker, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicholas P. Jones, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gareth J. Williams, Ph.D.


SCTLD, Disease Intervention, Frequent Monitoring, Orbicella faveolata, Amoxicillin, Base2B, Southeastern Florida.


Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) is a highly contagious coral disease, causing rapid colony mortality and local extinctions. Conducting disease interventions on all corals in a region during an outbreak is virtually impossible therefore, prioritizing corals must be considered. In 2015, we identified and monitored 78 of southeast Florida's largest (>2m in diameter) living Orbicella faveolata colonies. In 2018, all corals were revisited, and those with the greatest living tissue area and largest colony size were grouped as priority corals (n=42) and the remainder were grouped as non-priority corals (n=36). Priority corals received additional monthly monitoring with disease interventions starting immediately, whereas non-priority corals did not. All SCTLD lesions were treated beginning in 2018 with chlorinated epoxy and amoxicillin paste after 2019. Our results highlight that on average priority corals lost significant amounts of tissue (-6.07 % ± 4.34 % SE) before disease interventions began (2015-2018), while tissue loss was not significant (-2.93 % ± 4.93% SE) once monthly monitoring and disease interventions started (2018-2022) and no complete colony mortality occurred. In contrast, non-priority corals experienced significant losses (-33.22 % ± 5.06 % SE) between 2015-2018, and (-5.72 % ±2.07 % SE) between 2018-2021, leading to the death of 66.7% (24/36) corals. Priority corals continually developed new lesions, and while disease interventions were highly successful at reducing the amount of tissue lost to disease, treatments were still required nearly every month. Frequent treatments have prolonged the lives of priority colonies, allowing them to spawn for several more seasons.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (DEP ORCP) award nos. B2A150, B48140, B46AD7, B3C3AD, B558F2, B7B6F3, B96800.