Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Treatment of Coral Diseases: Historical Perspectives, Modern Efforts, and Future Directions

Event Name/Location

39th Association of Marine Labs of the Caribbean Scientific Meeting / Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Disease, Treatment, Florida, Management


As stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) leaves extensive mortality in its wake across the Florida Reef Tract, a slew of intervention techniques have been trialed in efforts to protect infected colonies. Laboratory and field tests have explored traditional treatment options (smothering and chlorinated firebreaks) as well as more innovative techniques (amputation and relocation, antibiotic delivery mechanisms, removal for treatment and safe housing in aquaria). Large scale efforts in partnership with former military divers have tested the most promising options on a large number of colonies. Success of treatments has varied with environmental conditions, size of lesions, and species. Though some treatments show short-term success, all intervention actions are currently being conducted at the level of individual lesions. Ideas for scaling up to colony or potentially reef-level treatments are considered in a cost-benefit and risk management scenario, balancing the known outcome of doing nothing with the unknown outcomes of novel treatment effects.



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