In 1997 and 2003, an outbreak of white plague-II (caused by the bacterium Aurantimonas coralicida) was reported on reefs near La Parguera and at shelf edge localities affecting at least 16 species. Small, massive corals such as Diploria strigosa and D. stokesii located on Mona Island were affected by an outbreak in 1999, many of which died within one to two weeks. Since 2002, Culebra Island’s Montastraea spp. populations have also been affected. The largest outbreak of WP-II followed the mass bleaching event of 2005. Throughout Puerto Rico, the disease caused high mortalities, including colonies hundreds of years old, resulting in significant loss of live coral cover in most areas.

References & more