Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


Scleractinian diseases and bleaching have been studied for about 30 years. And yet, very little is known about the vectors, pathogens, and long-term effects of coral disease and coral bleaching. In the 1990s, the reported number of coral diseases escalated significantly. Black Band Disease, White Plague, Dark Spot Syndrome, Yellow Blotch Disease, Aspergillosis, and Coral Bleaching events have been identified and reported in the coral reef ecosystems of Dominica since 2000. This study aims to add to the knowledge base of these coral afflictions around Dominica. The data collected in this survey are from the north and west shores of the island, previously unstudied areas. Height, widest diameter, disease symptoms, percent of diseased coral tissue, and the color differences between diseased and healthy coral tissue are recorded in situ within a 3-meter radius circle at each of 6 locations. Data collection begins the last week of October 2004 and ends the third week of November 2004. Eighteen zooxanthellate species suffer from coral bleaching. Yellow Blotch Disease infections are found in Montestraea faveolata and Montestraea annularis colonies. Siderastrea siderea is found infected by Dark Spot Syndrome and White Plague. Black Band Disease infections are rare. Gorgonia spp. are possibly infected by Aspergillosis. In future studies, incidence and occurrence of coral diseases and coral bleaching in framework building species Montestraea faveolata, Montestraea annularis, and Siderastrea siderea should be monitored to reduce overall reef degradation. Incidence and occurrence of coral disease and coral bleaching in non-framework species Agaricia agaricites and Porites asteroides should be monitored as possible indicators of an impending bleaching event.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Division of Science and Environmental Policy