Waypoint Winter 2015

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Photo story: Journey to Orpheus - Searching for a cure for black band disease

Dr David Bourne and Dr Yui Sato from AIMS travel annually with the NGO, Earthwatch, to Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Their studies are important to finding a solution to control infectious diseases such as black band disease (BBD) in corals.

Research at the Australian Institute of Marine Science is supported by volunteers from Earthwatch. The program focuses on the recovery process of coral reefs following devastating natural disturbance and recurrent outbreaks of black band disease (BBD).

Image: AIMS

Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef

Image: AIMS

Sunset at Orpheus Island. Studies have indicated potential links between BBD outbreaks and excessive nutrients in seawater due to human activities in the nearby coastal areas. Currently, many coral reefs are under stress due to changes in oceanic conditions resulting from factors such as climate change and pollution.

Image: AIMS

Divers at Orpheus Island, investigating black band disease (BBD). Infectious diseases have been identified as a major contributor to the decline in coral reef ecosystems worldwide. BBD is the oldest coral disease recorded in the literature dating back to the early 1970s. The original description was from the Caribbean Sea, but it has since been recorded globally. Research will help develop mitigation strategies for reefs around the world.

 Image: AIMS

Black band disease.

Image: AIMS