Scientists with the University of Hawaii are investigating what caused a rapidly-spreading case of coral disease that invaded Kaneohe Bay.
After being alerted by a member of the community, teams found that the disease, called montipora white syndrome, killed more than 100 colonies of red rice coral in the bay. The disease can kill colonies in weeks, officials with UH's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology said.
Members of SOEST's Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology are testing samples to determine what caused the disease outbreak. Researchers said once they determine the cause, they will be able to more effectively treat and contain the disease.
Researchers said the outbreak in Kaneohe Bay is not related to an outbreak in Maui found in January. That outbreak is slowly spreading, whereas the Oahu case is moving quickly.
HIMB and the U.S. Geological Survey tracks coral diseases around the islands. Researchers said most cases are not as severe as the most recent discovery.
Kaneohe Bay Coral Disease MAP-157.806418910622621.458824147063041123029650