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:

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.

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.

Black Band Disease of Kaua’i

In 2011 an Eyes of the Reef member reported the occurrence of a tissue loss disease exhibiting symptoms similar to Black Band Disease (BBD).  Dr. Thierry Work  (USGS) and Dr. Greta Aeby acted as primary responders in accordance to the State of Hawai’i Rapid Response Contingency Plan, and confirmed the reports on the North Shore of Kaua’i.  After their initial finding of a Black Band like disease, which resembles a black, white or yellow linear microbial mat that progresses across live coral leaving behind a semi-circular lesion, samples of the lesion area were collected and brought back to UHM. A portion of the microbial consortium was identified using molecular techniques, grown into “pure” cultures and stored. Our group found that the three bacterial players were a photosynthetic cyanobacterium, sulfur reducing Vibrios and a sulfate oxidizing Beggiatoa.  The cyanobacterium was very similar to Pseudoscillatoria coralii of BBD found in Palau, the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.

As we have stated on our Coral Doctors opening page, all organisms have the capability of becoming sick and this is a natural component of ecosystem health.  It is when there is an increase in the frequency of occurrence of a disease in an ecosystem that evokes concern.  Corals are very slow growing animals and tissue loss disease increase in an ecosystem may lead to ecosystem phase shift or collapse.

After the confirmation of BBD on Kaua’i, rapid response surveys were performed. This lead to DAR and DLNR funding for the investigation of the spatial distribution, disease levels, and environmental factors that may be associated with the presence and levels of BBD around Kaua’i. Surveys have been conducted during the summer on the north shore and during the winter on the south shore.  Data collected consisted of substrate composition, disease frequency of occurrence (all disease states), coral cover, fish community composition, total suspended solids, sediment samples (as proxy for water motion and organic composition) and temperature. All data are being currently evaluated and will be presented in a time series on this blog; summer survey data will be presented at the end of January on this forum as well as Ocean Science Meeting in February.

We have been fortunate enough to have the support from community groups, organizations and businesses, which serve Kaua’i; Limahuli Gardens, The Hanalei Watershed Hui, The Waipa Foundation, Westshore Watershed, Surfrider, DOBOR, DOCAR, DAR, SOEST,Sea Sport Divers, and Kaua’i Community College.Image

Above Black Band Disease of Montipora flabellata



Above Black Band Disease of Montipora patula 


Above Black Band Disease of Montipora capitata