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Coral Disease Response: Completed Projects

Since 2015, DEP and numerous partners from federal, state and local governments, universities, nongovernmental organizations and the South Florida community have been communicating regularly and working together on a multifaceted response effort.

Completed Project Reports




November 2015

Brian Walker and Katelyn Klug

Southeast Florida Large Coral Assessment

June 2016

Esther Peters and Nicole Fogarty

Data collection to assess reef conditions before and during the 2014-2015 coral disease outbreak

June 2017

Brian Walker

Characterize the condition of previously known and newly identified large dense Acropora cervicornis patches in southeast Florida

June 2017

Jeff Maynard, James Byrne, Kristi Kerrigan, Dieter Tracey,
Karen Bohnsack, Francisco Pagan, Joanna Walczak, Gareth J. Williams

Coral reef resilience to climate change in the Florida Reef Tract

June 2017

Kathleen Lunz, Jan Landsberg, Yasu Kiryu, and Vanessa Brinkhuis

Investigation of the coral disease outbreak affecting scleractinian coral species along the Florida Reef Tract

June 2018

Karen Neely and Cindy Lewis

In-Situ Disease Intervention

June 2018

Karen Neely

Ex-Situ Disease Treatment Trials

June 2018

Brian Walker and Alysha Brunelle

Southeast Florida Large (>2 meter) Diseased Coral Colony Intervention Summary Report

June 2018

William Sharp and Kerry Maxwell

Investigating the Ongoing Coral Disease Outbreak in the Florida Keys: Collecting Corals to Diagnose the Etiological Agent(s) and Establishing Sentinel Sites to Monitor Transmission Rates and the Spatial Progression of the Disease

June 2018

Keri O'Neil, Karen Neely, and Josh Patterson

Nursery Management and Treatment of Diseased Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) on the Florida Reef Tract

June 2018

Ian Enochs and Graham Kolodziej

Ultraviolet Deactivation of Coral Disease Lesions

June 2018

Karen Neely

Surveying the Florida Keys Southern Coral Disease Boundary

June 2018

Brian Walker

Southeast Florida Reef-Wide Post-Irma Coral Disease Survey

June 2018

Erinn Muller, Robert van Woesik, and Constance Sartor

Spatial Epidemiology Modeling of the Florida Coral Disease Outbreak

June 2018

Blake Ushijima, Valerie Paul

Postdoctoral research in coral pathogen isolation

June 2018

Josh D. Voss, Ian Combs

Fate tracking, molecular investigation, and amputation assessment of tissue loss disease on corals in the northern Florida Reef Tract

July 2018 Karen Neely Quick Look Report: Dendrogyra cylindrus spawning research

December 2018

Karen Neely, Emily Hower

In-Situ Disease Intervention (December 2018)

June 2019 William Sharp, Kerry Maxwell, and John Hunt Investigating the ongoing coral disease outbreak in the Florida Keys: Evaluating its small-scale epidemiology and mitigation techniques
June 2019 Valerie Paul, Blake Ushijima, and Greta Aeby Studies of the Ecology and Microbiology of Florida's Coral Tissue Loss Diseases
June 2019 Karen Neely Ex Situ Disease Treatment Trials 
June 2019 Mike Favero, Katie Balut, and Mark Levine

Amoxicillin Trihydrate Stability in Correlation with Coral Ointment Batch#18006-B and Simulated Seawater

June 2019 Brian Walker, Joana Figueiredo Large Orbicella Assisted-Reproduction Report
June 2019 Brian Walker, Kelly Pitts SE FL Reef-building-coral Response to Amoxicillin Intervention and Broader-scale Coral Disease Intervention
June 2019 Joshua D. Voss, Erin Shilling, Ian Combs

Intervention and fate tracking for corals affected by stony coral tissue loss disease in the northern Florida Reef Tract

June 2019 Karen Neely, Emily Hower, Kevin Macaulay Florida Keys Coral Disease Strike Teams: FY 2018-2019 Final Report
August 2019 Karen Neely Quick Look Report: Dendrogyra cylindrus spawning
March 2020 Karen Neely Novel Treatment Options for Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease: Final Report

June 2020

Mike Favero, Katie Curtis Creation and Release Profiles of Novel Biodegradable Ointments for Lesion Based and Whole Colony Treatment Methods to be Utilized in the Response to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease 
June 2020 Joana Figueiredo, Brian Walker Assisted Sexual Reproduction of Corals and Grow-out of Coral Recruits: Spawning Year 2019 Final Report 
June 2020 Thomas Dobbelaere, Erinn Muller, Lew Gramer, Dan Hostein, Luke McEachron, Emmanuel Hanert Using fine scale hydrodynamic modeling to characterize the transmission patterns of SCTLD within the water column of the Florida Reef Tract
June 2020 Thomas Dobbelaere, Erinn Muller, Lewis Gramer, Dan Holstein and Emmanuel Hanert  Report on the potential origin of the SCTLD in the Florida Reef Tract
June 2020 William Sharp, Kerry Maxwell, Kylie Smith, & John Hunt  Investigating the ongoing coral disease outbreak in the Florida Keys: continued SCTLD monitoring at middle and lower Florida Keys, experimental coral restoration of SCTLD-susceptible coral species, and assessing the prevalence of SCTLD on intermediate reef habitat
June 2020 Karen Neely Florida Keys Coral Disease Strike Team: FY 19-20 Final Report
August 2020
Valerie J. Paul, Blake Ushijima, Kelly Pitts
Development of probiotics and alternative treatments for stony coral tissue loss disease - Task 2 and Task 3
August 2020 Julie Meyer Development of probiotics and alternative treatments for stony coral tissue loss disease - Final report
August 2020 Brian Walker, Hunter Noren, Alysha Brunelle, and Samantha Buckley SE Florida Reef-building-coral Disease Intervention and Preparation for Restoration
August 2020 Jennifer Salerno and Esther Peters Microscopic and Microbial Insights into the SCTLD Outbreak Across Multiple Coral Species on Florida’s Coral Reef
August 2020

Michael G. Janech, Benjamin Neely, Frank Mari, and Cheryl Woodley

Metaproteomic Analysis of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease

August 2020

Greta Aeby, Valerie Paul, Jan Landsberg, and Yasu Kiryu

Studies on environmental co-factors potentially influencing the disease dynamics of Florida’s coral tissue loss diseases

August 2020 Joshua D. Voss, Erin Shilling, Ian Combs, Ashley Carreiro, Michael Studivan, and Jeff Beal Intervention and fate tracking for corals affected by stony coral tissue loss disease in the northern section of Florida’s Coral Reef
September 2020 Karen Neely Quick Look Report: Coral spawning (Dichocoenia stokesii, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Pseudodiploria strigosa)

December 2020

Nikki Traylor-Knowles Development Of A Biomarker System For SCTLD In Four Species Of Caribbean Corals
January 2021 David S. Gilliam, Joana Figueiredo, and Cassie M. VanWynen Stony Coral Spawning Hubs in the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area: Phase 1 Final Report

Disease Response Coordination Meetings

July 11-13, 2018

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program held a workshop on July 11-13, 2018, in Key Largo to create a comprehensive response plan to address the coral disease outbreak. The workshop focused on developing collaborative partnerships between resource managers and scientists to identify potential pathogens, document the outbreak, understand contributing factors, and aggressively pursue interventions. We are quickly compiling the workshop outcomes to create a framework for adaptive decision making about intervention actions, resource capacity and funding needs, regulatory issues and community engagement.

November 6-8, 2017

DEP staff collaborated with staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to lead a three-day coral disease meeting to discuss the next phase of coral disease response efforts. Made possible by funds appropriated by the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott, the meeting was attended by approximately 40 participants, including leading coral disease scientists and animal health experts. To review the summaries and objectives from this meeting, please see below and click on the following links:

Intervention Methodologies Workshop: November 6, 2017

Priority Sampling Plan Workshop: November 7-8, 2017

July 24-25, 2017

DEP  staff partnered with coral disease experts Greta Aeby from the University of Hawaii and Blake Ushijima from Oregon State University to host a two-day coral disease meeting. Approximately 125 participants representing a variety of agencies, organizations, universities and the South Florida community attended. The meeting included information on coral disease identification, ecology and investigation techniques. To review the meeting material and recordings, please follow the links below:

  1. Coral Disease: Drivers and Management
  2. Coral Ecology and Lesion Identification*
  3. Investigation of Disease Ecology in Florida*
  4. Coral Microbes: Friends or Foes

For 508-Compliant versions, please email

Regional Coordination Calls

To improve communication about the status of the coral disease outbreak and coordination among reef managers, scientists and interested members of the community regarding these response efforts, DEP initiated coordination phone calls in summer 2015. Although initially focused on mainland southeast Florida where the disease outbreak originated, these coordination calls were re-established during summer 2016 to include the entire Florida Reef Tract and are currently ongoing. Follow the links below to review a meeting summary from any of these calls:

Regional Southeast Florida Calls:

Florida Reef Tract-Wide Calls:

Last Modified:
September 9, 2021 - 1:44pm

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