Dan Hadler and Amir Rashed

Coral Disease
frequency and severity in areas of dense population versus disperse
areas

Disease
around the Caribbean, along with anthropogenic causes, is one of the
biggest threats to coral abundance and diversity. Corals have the
propensity to host a large amount of pathogens that can be
detrimental to their health. Because these pathogens include
bacteria, it is reasonable to assume that they follow some principles
of disease movement through populations. We therefore hypothesized
that coral disease is more prevalent and severe in populations of
corals that are more densely distributed than corals that have a
diffuse distribution. We separated our groups based on the reef
structure. We then proceeded to transect the two areas with a 15
meter line with a width of 1 meter either side of the transect line.
Using the Braun Blanquet scale, we measured the severity of the
disease if the coral was infected.
The
data we collected shows that there is no statistically significant
difference between the aggregate number of diseased coral in the
patchy areas compared to the dense areas The severity increase that
we expected to see in the dense area coral was also statistically
insignificant, suggesting that coral density has little to do with
disease severity.

BlackSpotDisease

Example of black spot disease on Massive Starlet Coral (Siderastrea
sidereal
).

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