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Highly contagious marine epidemic rips through Caribbean’s coral reefs

Krista Sherman understands ocean conservation work takes a good deal of patience. But the Bahamian-born marine scientist had never encountered a foe like stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD), and after efforts to monitor and treat the highly contagious outbreak in the Bahamas’ corals stalled, her patience was running thin.

“The disease is spreading really quickly. In some areas where we’ve been able to assess the rate of spread, we’re looking at a mile a month,” says Sherman, a researcher with the Bahamas-based Perry Institute for Marine Science.

“There’s a shift taking place at some sites, from healthy, vibrant reefs to what looks like a coral graveyard. And it’s really devastating to see; it’s just heartbreaking.”

First discovered in Florida in 2014, the ...

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