Author(s): K Kuta, L Richardson
Eleven environmental factors (salinity, water depth, water temperature, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, soluble phosphate, total phosphate, turbidity, coral diversity, and percent coral cover) were measured at 190 sites on 12 patch reefs of the Florida Keys. Each (2-m-diameter) site was centered around a coral colony with active black band disease (n=21) or a haphazardly selected healthy coral of a species known to be susceptible to black band disease (n=169). Statistical analysis was performed to detect any relationship between each environmental factor and black band disease incidence. Five factors (water temperature, water depth, coral diversity, and concentrations of ortho-phosphate and nitrite) exhibited statistically significant relationships with black band disease. These are discussed in terms of the etiology of the disease as well as the reef environment.