NOAA, UH To Investigate Coral Bacterial Disease on Kauai

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Scientists are investigating a coral disease that’s quickly spreading across the North shores of Kauai.

Large areas of reef are covered with a type of cyano bacteria … and its killing coral at an alarming rate. 

Local biologist Terry Lilley first alerted scientists of the outbreak last year, photographing the spread of the bacterial disease.

Experts say it’s still unclear why this is happening… but are working with state and federal agencies to learn as much as they can about this growing epidemic.

Dr. Bernardo Vargas-Angel is a coral disease specialist at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He’s organizing a team of scientists to investigate the outbreak and looks forward to collaborating with UH Manoa researchers.

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Vargas-Angel plans to return to Kauai to lead a full investigation starting in April.

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)