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Florida's mystery coral-killer identified


An unusual coral disease appeared on the Florida Reef Tract in June 1995. It was distinct in its microbiology, its pattern of tissue degradation, the species susceptible to it, and its regional distribution. Symptoms included a sharp line between healthy and diseased tissue, as occurs with other coral diseases, but the pathogen responsible for the new outbreak seemed more virulent, affected a wider variety of species, and destroyed tissue much more rapidly than these other ‘line’ or ‘band’ diseases. We have identified the pathogen responsible for this new disease as a new species of Sphingomonas.

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Figure 1: Diseased corals.


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Richardson, L., Goldberg, W., Kuta, K. et al. Florida's mystery coral-killer identified. Nature 392, 557–558 (1998).

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