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Mar Pollut Bull. 2008 May;56(5):1008-14. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.02.013. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

Diseases leading to accelerated decline of reef corals in the largest South Atlantic reef complex (Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil).

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  • 1Grupo de Pesquisas em Recifes de Corais e Mudanças Globais, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Rua Caetano Moura 123, 40210-340 Salvador, BA, Brazil.


Although reef corals worldwide have sustained epizootics in recent years, no coral diseases have been observed in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean until now. Here we present an overview of the main types of diseases and their incidence in the largest and richest coral reefs in the South Atlantic (Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil). Qualitative observations since the 1980s and regular monitoring since 2001 indicate that coral diseases intensified only recently (2005-2007). Based on estimates of disease prevalence and progression rate, as well as on the growth rate of a major reef-building coral species (the Brazilian-endemic Mussismilia braziliensis), we predict that eastern Brazilian reefs will suffer a massive coral cover decline in the next 50 years, and that M. braziliensis will be nearly extinct in less than a century if the current rate of mortality due to disease is not reversed.

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