Disease In The Reefs
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Disease In The Reefs

Disease In The Reefs

Mosaics intern applies amoxicillin paste to reduce the progression of coral disease. Photo cred: Kristen Ewin.
Hello from the United States Virgin Islands! My name is Nicholas C. Durgadeen, and thanks to Environment for the Americas and the National Park Service, I will be working as a natural resource management assistant for Buck Island/Christiansted/Salt River National Park.  In the few weeks that I’ve been working for the Buck Island/Christiansted/Salt River National Park, I’ve been given the opportunity to work from and assist so many individuals working on their own interesting and unique projects. From coral genotyping to sea turtle conservation and even mangrove restoration, I’ve been able to gain a wide variety of skills that I know will aid me in my own project, fate tracking. For my project I will be tracking the rate of progression for a disease known as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). SCTLD is a highly contagious disease that can kill an entire coral colony in about a month. SCTLD was first seen off Florida’s coast in 2014, and since then it has spread down to the Florida Keys and to the Caribbean. It was first noticed in the Caribbean in 2019, and since then it has killed off a significant number of hermatypic or reef-building corals. Not only has it been affecting the ecosystem, but it has also affected the economy. With this being a new disease, there are still many unanswered questions. For example, what is the week-by-week rate of progression of the disease? And, is the rate of progression dependent upon the infected species? These are the types of questions my project aims to answer.

Here is some of the cool marine life I’ve been able to photograph while in my internship. If you want to see more pictures of marine life like this, keep checking my blog every couple of weeks!

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