North Shore Coral Dying

SUBHEAD: White coral disease is obliterating coral reefs in Hanalei and other locations on north shore of Kauai.  

By Terry Lillly on 18 July 2012 in Island Breath -

Image above: White coral disease passes across a head of coral,leaving behind a dead skeleton. From (

I just sent you over my report on the spreading white coral disease study I sent over yesterday to Greta, NOAA and USGS. I am doing transect video surveys counting infected corals with the white coral disease in 40 north shore locations with GPS, time and date.

We have on video now (with pics), over 500 infected rice corals that were missed in the River Hui studies. We are measuring the growth rate weekly of over 100 of these corals and will build an ongoing web page. We also are going out at night to study each area and find out what is spreading the disease. I hope to raise funds to better monitor salinity, sedimentation, nitrates, PH, temperature, current and so on to find out what is causing this very bad fast, spreading disease.

We currently feel the disease is being spread at night by sea cucumbers. I have found this disease all over the north shore of Kauai and also in the Philippines where it has devastated entire reefs. I am going to Maui to see if it there, this week. Yesterday we did a 50 meter x 2 meter x 2 meter transect at Anini and found over 60 infected corals. Many of which had foot wide, white coral disease.

I surveyed this area two months ago and the disease was barely present! We feel it is growing at about one inch a week and we will document this on over 100 rice corals within the next three weeks. Since I do this for free I have limited time to communicate as I am in the water 4 hours a day and then editing video, but I would be happy to keep you updated with pictures and info if you would like.

I would rather this info go directly to you and not be altered or twisted by Makaala or Carl Berg, as in the past. This study is just to important to ignore and play politics with and I am giving it away for free to try and help the reefs in Hawaii. I am also doing a whole professional video about coral diseases in Hawaii to go along with my new release "The Worlds Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fish".

It will go to stores world wide shortly. As I have offered in the past but have never been taken up on, I would be happy to take any diver out to these locations and show them each infected or dead coral that I have been taking video of since 2006. I now have over 1,000 hours of HD underwater video and over 100,000 pictures from over 200 reef sites in Kauai.

Thanks for all of your wonderful studies of the reefs in Kauai and world wide, as I think they are world class, but we all need to share info as this disease spreads fast and it will take a lot of people to control it, if we can. It would be a shame to loose our rice corals in Kauai when we can do something about it.

• Terry Lilley is a marine biologist living in Hanalei, Kauai, HAwaii with website The Hanalei River Heritage Foundation. He can be reached at 808-212-8600 or .

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