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A new video, “Exploring Causes of Coral Disease,” follows USGS researchers as they investigate potential causes of black band disease affecting corals on the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi. 

Video Transcript
The Hawaiian Islands’ beautiful ocean and beaches attract more than 8.5 million tourists each year. The USGS aims to help Hawaii preserve its underwater natural resources by tracing how oceanography may influence coral disease outbreaks. Looking into contaminants in the freshwater, or how quickly a bay may or may not flush, will help enrich future and past studies about the disease itself. 

In spring 2015, scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (Santa Cruz, California) and the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (St. Petersburg, Florida) ran initial surveys to check water temperature, salinity, and whether water running off the land may be affecting coral health. An expanded team will return this summer for more in-depth work. Healthy reefs protect the shore from wave damage, provide shelter for important fish species, and are vital to tourism. 

View the 3:46-minute video at Exploring Causes of Coral Disease | U.S. Geological Survey (
For more information, visit the USGS Pacific Coral Reefs Web Site and Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)