Black Band Disease

  • Laurie L. Richardson


Black band disease (BBD) was the first coral disease to be reported in the literature (Antonius 1973). It was first noted on reefs of Belize in the western Caribbean, and was described as a striking microbial assemblage that formed a band which moved across apparently healthy coral colonies, actively destroying coral tissue and leaving behind the bare coral skeleton (Fig. 18.1). The band appeared dark, which was the basis of the descriptive name. During this same decade, two additional coral diseases were reported, white plague (Dustan 1977) and white band (Gladfelter et al. 1977). BBD differed from the other two in that a very obvious microbial biomass was associated with the pathology, whereas no discernible microorganisms were observable for white plague or white band. Despite the distinct presence of a dense microbial community associated with active coral tissue lysis, identification of the BBD pathogen has proven to be challenging and is still the subject of ongoing investigation.


Coral Reef Great Barrier Reef Sulfide Oxidizer Coral Coloni Dead Coral 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

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  • Laurie L. Richardson

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