Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) is a new lethal disease first reported in Florida in 2014. The cause of the disease is unknown but it is affecting >30 species of corals especially brain, pillar, star and starlet corals. The disease spreads quickly causing high coral mortality.
Tips to Live Sustainably
Reduce Single-Use Plastic
The first step into living ocean friendly is to become more aware of personal consumption of single-use plastic. When can you say “NO” to plastic straws, plastic cups, lids, and plastic containers? These products are extremely poisonous for all marine species. When a marine species lower in the food chain, such as a small fish, ingests toxic plastics that toxicity is biomagnified throughout the food web until it reaches apex predators such as whales and sharks.
Reduce your Carbon footprint
Green house gas emissions cause climate change and ocean acidification. By driving, flying, and choosing renewable energy whenever possible increases the potential of regaining and maintaining the health of the oceans and its marine life.
Choose Sustainable Seafood
Overfishing is a big problem throughout the world. Over the last 55 years, we have eliminated 90% of the oceans top predators like: sharks, bluefin tuna, marlin, swordfish, and king mackerel. When there is decline in number of apex predators species lower in the food chain see rapid population growth disrupting the entire ecosystem's function. Overpopulation can lead to an unsustainable biome and depletion of resources.
Causes of Coral Mortality
Coral reefs are very sensitive to sudden changes in environment such as salinity, temperature and solar radiation. Coral bleaching is the main cause to coral mortality. Increase in ocean temperature exceeding the normal maximum temperature will drive a mass bleaching event. Ocean acidification is a decrease in the overall pH balance caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide released from natural and anthropogenic forces. Why does it matter? “25% of marine life depends on coral reefs for habitat. 500 million people depend on coral reefs for food, tourism, employment and even protection from extreme weather.” Bleached coral does not mean it is completely dead. With the return of colder waters coral can make a comeback. (Credit: Reef Resilience. Mass Bleaching. reefresilience.org)
COMMON DISEASES TO CORAL
Black Band Disease
Symptoms: A black band moving across the coral. Potential to kill entire colonies within months.
Causes: Black band disease is caused by a bacteria called Phormidium corallyticum
White Band Disease
Symptoms: Tissue peels off of stag horn and elk horn coral, leaving behind the exposed tissue of coral.
Causes: Not yet known by scientists.
Choose Sustainable Seafood
Plastic use and its subsequent breakdown is having a devastating impact on not only marine life but as it travels up the food chain human life and land animals such as sea birds and seals. Most of the fish humans consume on a daily basis are littered with tiny bits of micro plastics. Help the world and yourself by significantly reducing the use of single use plastics!
THREATS TO MARINE LIFE
Many species of marine life are exposed to the opportunity of ingestion, entanglement, and suffocation due to incorrect marine plastic disposal. Sea birds, turtles, whales, and fish mistake plastic pieces and particles as prey. When ingested, the plastic does not break down, and their stomachs slowly fill with plastic debris. In the video above, a Good Samaritan saves not one but FOUR Sea Turtles entangled in an improperly discarded fishing net.
A NEW WORLD OF TRASH
There is a garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific that is twice the size of Texas. Every day that garbage patch continues to grow. Humans alone have generated 18.2 trillion pounds of trash since the 1950’s and that number is not slowing down. Most of the trash accumulating in our oceans is plastic and its break down into micro plastics. Plastic pollution is a disease to coral reefs and marine life.