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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)

Research: Gallery - Black-Band Disease

Black-band disease (BBD) is one of the most easily identified coral diseases because of its distinctive appearance. The black band is a bacterial mat, consisting of cyanobacteria, sulfide-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria. As such, BBD is viewed as a polymicrobial disease, since all members of the microbial consortium must be present to cause tissue death on the coral. As the bacterial mat moves over the coral, the tissue is killed by the lack of oxygen, increased sulfide, and possibly also due to toxins produced by the cyanobacteria. As shown in the photos in this gallery, the black band is at the interface between the healthy coral tissue and the dead skeleton that remains as a result of the disease. BBD affects more than 40 species of coral and is found in marine waters all over the world. Click on a photo to see a larger version. Cåredit for all photos: USGS/Christina Kellogg.

A colony of Colpophyllia breviserialis affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. A colony of Colpophyllia breviserialis affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of Colpophyllia breviserialis affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of knobby brain coral, Diploria clivosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of elliptical star coral, Dichocoenia stokesii, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of elliptical star coral, Dichocoenia stokesii, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of elliptical star coral, Dichocoenia stokesii, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of symmetrical brain coral, Diploria strigosa, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of lobed star coral, Montastraea annularis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. A colony of lobed star coral, Montastraea annularis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of lobed star coral, Montastraea annularis, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
Close-up of the interface between bleached polyps of the great star coral, Montastraea cavernosa, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.  The dead coral skeleton behind the black band has become overgrown with green algae.Close-up of the interface between bleached polyps of the great star coral, Montastraea cavernosa, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. The dead coral skeleton behind the black band has become overgrown with green algae.
Close-up of the interface between bleached polyps of the great star coral, Montastraea cavernosa, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. The dead coral skeleton behind the black band has become overgrown with green algae.
A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.  Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died.Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died.
Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died.
A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
A colony of mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, affected by black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.
Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys.  Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died. The skeleton turns green as algae grow over it.Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata, and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died. The skeleton turns green as algae grow over it.
Close-up of the interface between polyps of the mountainous star coral, Montastraea faveolata and black-band disease (BBD), Florida Keys. Behind the black band is white coral skeleton remaining after the polyps have died. The skeleton turnins green as algae grow over it.

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