Volume 72

Distribution, Abundance and Prevalence of Coral Diseases Along the Coast of the Dominican Republic

Gonzalez, M; I. Irazabal; R. Torres, R. Steneck; E. Montero
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 286-288

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The health of coral reefs is vital for maintaining the ecosystem services they produce. The Dominican Republic (DR) depends on coral reefs as an essential source of food, tourism opportunities and protection against tropical storms. However, their condition remains poor, being mostly attributed to overfishing, pollution and coastal development. Another rising threat for coral reefs is the emergence of new diseases. To date, no national- level studies have been carried out on which diseases are affecting corals in the DR, their distribution and prevalence. In 2019, the assessment of coral diseases and species affected was included in the DR´s National Reef Health Monitoring Program; part of a strategic alliance between Reef Check DR, Propagas Foundation and the University of Maine. The type, abundance, distribution and prevalence of the diseases were determined in 12 sites around the DR`s coast, belonging to six marine protected areas. In each of the sites, four 10x1 m belt transects were established where all stony coral colonies were counted and visually assessed for disease signs. The national extent of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), first recorded for the DR in early 2019 and which is estimated to have caused the death of millions of corals across the Caribbean, was also evaluated.

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