Black spot disease of Ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus) population in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

Diseases of oceanic species are difficult to research due to the ocean‟s vast size and the overall logistics involved in studying disease in organisms that live in aquatic environments. Disease in marine organisms may go undetected even when an outbreak occurs. A healthy organism‟s immune system can fight an infection, but if it is weakened due to stress the ability of the immune system diminishes. Increasing human impacts in the world‟s oceans stress organisms through exposure to pollution and global climate change, which can increase the number of diseases in marine organisms. In the last year an unidentified disease has been reported on the Ocean surgeonfish, Acanthurus bahianus. The disease causes black spots on the epidermis of the fish and the deterioration of the fins. This disease has only been observed in Bonaire, Curacao, and the Turks and Caicos, all in the Caribbean. The purpose of this study was to generate a disease scale to facilitate the quantification of the progression of the disease and to compare the results conducted during the warmer months to those of the cooler months. Additionally, timed swims were used to determine the frequency of disease at various depths on the reef. Ocean surgeonfish play an essential role as herbivores in the coral reef ecosystems and since this disease is affecting 82% of ocean surgeonfish in Bonaire; it is crucial to study the distribution of

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XII (Fall 2012)19: 52-58 from CIEE Bonaire.

Back to search results