This website, Hawaiian White Coral Disease – Hawaiian Reefs In Crisis, documents the rapid destruction of life on the coral reefs off of Kaua’i and Oahu. It seemed to commence around Aug. 1 2012. They are being afflicted with rapid growths of cyanobacteria and fungi.
Aug. 28: These images are from a dive yesterday at Anini Reef. This infectious coral disease has spread very rapidly all over the reef. 1 year ago there were 2 infections in our 100-meter transect, 4 weeks ago there was 80 infections and yesterday virtually every coral was infected! Over 500 beautiful rice corals! The disease is turning the corals black as it kills them. The infectious patches on the corals are growing faster, many of them at a rate of two inches a week.
Anini Reef is the largest barrier reef in Hawaii. We are currently monitoring 10 separate dive sites along the reef, and they are now ALL infected with tens of thousands of corals dying.
The water in the lagoon smells and has lots of long stringy algae… At the current rate of this disease spreading at Anini, Tunnels, Wainiha and other places we will lose much of the reefs within 5 years or less.
Sept. 12: Kauai’s Honu (Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill) are facing another serious problem, after coming back from the brink of extinction.
Today many of our turtles are growing tumors on their faces and in their throats, causing starvation and eventual death. This outbreak coincides with the extremely rapid bacterial infection of Kauai’s reefs.
Nov. 30: “Given the scale of the event, the large numbers of corals affected, and the consistent preponderance of a few agents (cyanobacteria and fungi) associated with gross lesions that look similar in both Makua and Anini, this outbreak would have to qualify as an epidemic. This is the first time a cyanobacterial/fungal disease on this scale has been documented in Hawaiian corals.” Dr. Thierry Work, head of USGS Infectious Diseases.
From this pdf containing a report by Dr. Work:
The waters on the reef were laden with particulates, and throughout the reef, corals (mainly Montipora capitata) were encroached by sediments and turf algae (Fig. 1b). Live coral cover appeared unusually low as compared to what would be expected on a healthy reef (Fig. 1c). Gross lesions in affected corals occupied ca. 10-80% of the colonies and manifested as distinct semi-circular to amorphous areas of tissue loss revealing bare skeleton covered by amorphous flocculent black to grey material with a distinct black band delineating normal tissues (Fig. 1d); clumps of what appeared to be sediment covered dead skeleton and borders of the lesions (Fig. 1e).
The overall picture at Anini was one of a severely degraded reef impacted by sediments and turf algae. Microscopic changes evident in tissues of “non-lesion” corals were suggestive of animals undergoing some sort of chronic stress (inflammatory cells, foci of necrosis, degenerating gastrodermis, loss of symbiotic algae). Cyanobacteria alone were most commonly (59%) associated with lesions with fungal infections affecting
an additional 29% of corals. No other bacteria or other associated agents were seen. The microscopic findings for Anini and Makua were very similar. Based on the large percentage (59%) of corals affected by cyanobacteria only at Anini, I suspect this organism is playing a primary role in causing lesions with the likelihood that fungi may pose a complicating factor. In aggregate, 88% of corals with lesions at Anini are infected with cyanobacteria and fungi, and these organisms affect M. capitata at Anini and M. patula at Makua. The presence of cyanobacteria and fungi could explain the transmissibility and spread of the lesions observed in the field at both sites.
This black substance is familiar, it is all over Japan. It is highly radioactive. A staggering amount of 43,000,000 Bq/kq of radioactive cesium was measured from it recently.
This black substance has been determined to contain cyanobacteria, as well as radionuclides. Apparently these cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) accumulate radiation at an amazing rate.
It is not hard to see the arrival of radioactive seawater in the Hawaiian islands has coincided with the appearance of the black substance of the reefs. They both contain cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria release poisons called cyanotoxins.
Blooming cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins in such concentrations that they poison and even kill animals and humans. Cyanotoxins can also accumulate in other animals such as fish and shellfish, and cause poisonings such as shellfish poisoning.
Among cyanotoxins are some of the most powerful natural poisons known, including poisons which can cause rapid death by respiratory failure. The toxins include potent neurotoxins, hepatotoxins, cytotoxins, and endotoxins. Recreational exposure to cyanobacteria can result in gastro-intestinal and hay fever symptoms or pruritic skin rashes. It has been suggested that significant exposure to high levels of some species of cyanobacteria may cause Lou Gehrig’s disease, but there is no firm evidence.
We have already seen in this blog how radiation promotes the growth of fungi, and how these fungi accumulate radionuclides.
According to this graphic computer simulation, this contaminated pool of seawater will arrive in California around October 2013.