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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 510962, 7 pages
Research Article

Incidence and Spatial Distribution of Caribbean Yellow Band Disease in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

1Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, P.O. Box 9000, San Juan P.R. 00681, Puerto Rico
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, P.O. Box 70377, San Juan P.R. 00936, Puerto Rico

Received 31 March 2012; Revised 11 June 2012; Accepted 22 June 2012

Academic Editor: Horst Felbeck

Copyright © 2012 Francisco J. Soto-Santiago and Ernesto Weil. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The incidence and spatial distribution patterns of Caribbean Yellow Band Disease (CYBD) on the important frame-builder coral Montastraea faveolata were assessed by counting, tagging, and mapping all diseased and healthy colonies for one year in each of three 100 m2 quadrats on two inner, mid-shelf, and shelf-edge reefs off La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Healthy colonies were checked every month from January to December of 2009 to monitor disease spread within each quadrant. Incidence increased significantly from winter (0.7±0.8% SE) to summer (1.5±1.1% SE, n=23, Sign Test; Z=2.40; P=0.01). Mid-shelf reefs had the highest host abundance and showed significantly higher CYBD incidence (2.1±1.4% SE, n=14) compared to the other zones (H=9.74; df=2; P=0.04). The increased incidence in the summer suggests that warmer months favor development of CYBD on M. faveolata. Results showed aggregated patterns of CYBD when all colonies (i.e., healthy + diseased) at the spatial scales sampled were analyzed on each reef. This suggests facilitation of disease spread between aggregated colonies within populations. Similar stressful conditions then might trigger the disease in susceptible, aggregated colonies harboring the potential pathogens.