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Glossary of Terminology: white-band disease

Image of white-band disease on coral
Elkhorn coral populations have suffered widespread declines from white-band disease (Photo: Dr. A. Bruckner, NOAA)

a coral disease characterized by complete coral tissue degradation of Caribbean acroporid corals.-Two species of Acroporidae are affected, the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and the staghorn coral, A. cervicornis. The disease exhibits a sharp demarcation between apparently healthy coral tissue and exposed coral skeleton.- These signs are identical to plague, except that white band is acroporid specific (and plague has not been found on acroporids).- Tissue loss usually proceeds- from the base of the colony branch to the tip, although it can begin in the middle of a branch in A. cervicornis. White band disease affects acroporid corals throughout the Caribbean and has decimated populations at a regional scale.The infective agent has not yet been isolated. For more information and illustrations, see: http://www.coral.noaa.gov/coral_disease/white_band.shtml