Black Band Disease in the News


Christina Runyon (HIMB) and Anne Rosinski presenting update on areas impacted with Black Band Disease on the north shore of Kauai.


A press conference was held at Magic Island on the island of Oahu announcing the expansion of the Kauai Management Response Team, US Geological Survey’s new project focusing on groundwater and oceanographic variables, and the recent findings of UH Manoa researchers.  The following links showcase the the media event along with the updated link the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources Reef Response website:

The Garden Island Newspaper:

Star Advertiser:  
Hawaii News Now:
National News:

Newest publications out of the Aeby/Callahan Lab

Filamentous sulfide oxidizing bacterium isolated from Black Band Disease lesion

Filamentous sulfide oxidizing bacterium isolated from Black Band Disease lesion

Team coral has done it again. We have just published a paper on Black Band Disease of Kauai.Congratulations to Dr. Greta Aeby et al for the publication in PLoS One entitled: First Record of Black Band Disease in the Hawaiian Archipelago: Response, Outbreak Status, Virulence, and a Method of Treatment


A high number of coral colonies, Montipora spp., with progressive tissue loss were reported from the north shore of Kaua‘i by a member of the Eyes of the Reef volunteer reporting network. The disease has a distinct lesion (semi-circular pattern of tissue loss with an adjacent dark band) that was first observed in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i in 2004. The disease, initially termed Montipora banded tissue loss, appeared grossly similar to black band disease (BBD), which affects corals worldwide. Following the initial report, a rapid response was initiated as outlined in Hawai‘i’s rapid response contingency plan to determine outbreak status and investigate the disease. Our study identified the three dominant bacterial constituents indicative of BBD (filamentous cyanobacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria) in coral disease lesions from Kaua‘i, which provided the first evidence of BBD in the Hawaiian archipelago. A rapid survey at the alleged outbreak site found disease to affect 6-7% of the montiporids, which is higher than a prior prevalence of less than 1% measured on Kaua‘i in 2004, indicative of an epizootic. Tagged colonies with BBD had an average rate of tissue loss of 5.7 cm2/day over a two-month period. Treatment of diseased colonies with a double band of marine epoxy, mixed with chlorine powder, effectively reduced colony mortality. Within two months, treated colonies lost an average of 30% less tissue compared to untreated controls.

Congratulations to Blake Ushijima et al. for the publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology entitled: Vibrio coralliilyticus strain OCN008 is an etiological agent of acute Montipora white syndrome.  Below is the abstract from the publication and above is the time lapsed video of OCN008 and its damaging effect to Montipora capitata in forty-eight hours.


 Identification of a pathogen is a critical first step in the epidemiology and subsequent management of a disease. A limited number of pathogens have been identified for diseases contributing to the global decline of coral populations. Here we describe Vibrio coralliilyticus strain OCN008, which induces acuteMontipora White Syndrome (aMWS), a tissue-loss disease responsible for substantial mortality of the coral Montipora capitata in Kāne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i. OCN008 was grown in pure culture, recreated signs of disease in experimentally infected corals, and could be recovered after infection. In addition, strains similar to OCN008 were isolated from diseased coral from the field, but not from healthyM. capitata. OCN008 repeatedly induced tissue loss of healthy M. capitatafragments under laboratory conditions with a minimum infectious dose between 107 and 108 CFU/ml of water. In contrast, Porites compressa was not infected by OCN008 indicating host specificity of the pathogen. A decrease in water temperature from 27 to 23 °C affected time to disease onset, but the risk of infection was not significantly reduced. Temperature-dependent bleaching, which has been observed with the V. coralliilyticus type strain BAA-450, was not observed during infection with OCN008. A genome comparison of OCN008 to pathogenic V. coralliilyticus strains BAA-450 and P1 revealed similar virulence-associated genes and quorum sensing systems. Despite this genetic similarity, infections of M. capitata by OCN008 do not follow the paradigm for V. coralliilyticus infections established by the type strain.

Summer work conducted in Kauai along with some outreach and education

Aloha All!

As most of you know, we have been following a disease event on the shores of Kauai and have been communicating with the public, managers and fellow scientists. Please read the latest news coming out of Kauai and see how this forum allowed the public to gain knowledge pertaining to Black Band Disease (BBD) of corals.. We started off the talk with some basic coral reef ecology and coral disease descriptions and then moved into historical data and the efforts that have been made to better understand BBD and plausible environmental drivers or stressors associated with BBD. We end the talk with simple way to mitigate individuals impacts on coral reefs and how to report possible disease events to the Eyes of the Reef program. Follow the link above under the image of the Montipora patula colony displaying symptoms of BBD to read the Garden Isle Newspaper article from 8/15/14.

DLNR Reef Response

DLNR Reef Response

Aloha All,

The State of Hawai‘i Department of Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources have launched their Reef Response webpage. This site houses the framework for Rapid Response Contingency Plan, current rapid responses under way, past final reports, and resources available.  Touch the link above “DLNR Reef Response” and check out the new webpage. We are very happy to be part of this important and ground breaking event. Mahalo to all that have made this happen.


Team Coral

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2014

Last week, the Hawaii hosted the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting. Over 5,000 scientists, resource managers, and conservation groups gathered together to share groundbreaking research as well as to discuss problems and solutions to today’s coastal environmental issues.

The keynote speaker that started the week long conference was Elazabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsay. She is an anthropologist and a National Geographic Explorer. Lindsay gave a stirring talk on how the fusion of science and traditional knowledge of elders is essential to solving today’s ocean issues. A video of her talk from this meeting is not available to share here, but below is a link to a similar talk by Lindsay for those who are interested.

Another key address was made by Robert Richmond, who is a researcher at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at Kewalo Marine Laboratory here on Oahu. His address highlighted the need to further develop links between science and resource management which he then compared to spam musubi. He hoped that the way to solve coastal issues be founded on a thick rice platform of good science, with a rich spam topping of effective resource management, wrapped in the nori of concerned and well informed citizens. What do you think of his analogy?! We want to know!

Of course Team Coral was there to soak up some new knowledge and to share some really cool research!  All of the posters were very well received and sparked interesting discussion of future research.

Here is Chris talking about the coral disease outbreak happening in Kauai.


                                                  Amanda with her poster on coral bacteria.


   And Blake and Andy with their posters on coral pathogens.



Next week, Team Coral will also be presenting this research at the Tester’s Graduate Symposium being held at UH Manoa. Check out the program here:

Here are a couple more pictures of the conference.

IMAG5912IMAG5913 IMAG5916    

Kaua‘i Black Band Disease updates

C.Runyon_InterimReportI_3.6.2014 C.Runyon_Interim ReportII_3.6.2014

C.Runyon_DAR-Final-Report_4.9.2015 HCRS_2pager_Kauai_2_9_15_FINAL

Aloha and Mahalo to Anne Rosinski at DAR for putting together these Kaua‘i Coral Disease Research Updates interim reports.  These reports showcase work done by Christina Runyon with the help of Silvia Beurmann in following the Black Band Disease issue on Kaua‘i. Department of Aquatic Resources and researchers from UH Manoa have been working hard investigating the spatial distribution, virulence, and environmental factors related to BBD.  Christina and Silva will be headed back to Kaua‘i seasonally to continue their survey work and talk to the communities to provide outreach and education.