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Picture on left shows a trail of dying, white corals on the reef in March 2010. Picture on right shows the same area of the reef in May 2011 with barren rubble where the live corals once were. (Credit: Photos are courtesy of Greta Aeby, University of Hawaii – Manoa.)

ScienceDaily (Jan. 6, 2012) — In March 2010 an outbreak of a disease called acute Montipora White Syndrome (MWS) was discovered affecting coral reefs in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Follow-up surveys found that the disease left trails of rubble in its wake. It was estimated that over 100 colonies of rice coral (Montipora capitata) died during that initial outbreak. The disease has reappeared and is killing corals in Kaneohe Bay. The current outbreak has already affected 198 colonies and a rapid response team led by Dr. Greta Aeby (HIMB) has been activated to document the outbreak.

Members of the investigative team include scientists from the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), and USGS National Wildlife Health Center. Members of the Eyes of the Reef Network (EOR), a program that trains community members to identify threats to Hawaii’s reefs, are also being asked to report on any signs of disease from other reefs.

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