Skip to main content
diver underwater applying antibiotic paste to coral

NPS Photo by Rachel Johns

Fall 2014   
A new coral disease first seen on corals near Virginia Key (Miami-Dade County).

Fall 2015 
This previously undescribed disease confirmed to be spreading north and south from Virginia Key – up to Pompano Beach in the north and to Biscayne National Park in the south.    

October 2015 
The first tissue samples from infected corals taken from southeast Florida by FWC and DEP. Tissue samples are analyzed by researchers to determine potential causes of the disease. 

Summer 2016 
The disease now documented as far north as Palm Beach County and as far south as Lower Matecumbe Key in the Upper Florida Keys. Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks were surveyed and additional tissue samples taken from corals at Grecian Rocks by FWC. 

August 2016 
Start of intervention treatment testing, including antibiotic paste on endangered pillar coral, Dendrogyra cylindrus by the Florida Aquarium and Nova Southeastern University. 

Spring 2017 
The disease reached the northern end of Florida’s Coral Reef near the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County and is prevalent throughout the Upper Florida Keys. 

April 2017 
FWC and DEP divers collect additional tissue samples from Martin County and West Turtle and Dustan Rocks in the Middle Florida Keys. 

July 2017 
DEP and researchers from the University of Hawaii and Oregon State University host the first meeting in response to this disease outbreak. 

December 2017 
Treatment trials started for diseased corals in aquarium-based facilities by Keys Marine Lab. 

Spring 2018 
The disease reported in the Lower Florida Keys. The disease is documented for the first time outside Florida in Jamaica. 

May 2018 
Disease treatments with antibiotic paste, chlorine, and other methods started in wild corals in the Florida Keys. 

July 2018 
The disease reported in the Mexican Caribbean. 

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, DEP, and NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program held a workshop to create a comprehensive stony coral tissue loss disease response plan. The Coral Rescue Project was born.  

September 2018 
The first coral rescue effort was conducted – 102 coral colonies were collected by divers using small hammers and chisels from reefs near Key West. 

Nova Southeastern University starts intervention treatments on corals in southeast Florida – applying chlorinated epoxy or antibiotic treatments directly to infected corals.  

November 2018 
The disease reported in St. Maarten.  

Winter 2018  
The disease reported in Key West and in St. Thomas, USVI. 

Spring 2019 
The disease outbreak reaches the Marquesas Islands (west of Key West) and is documented in the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.  

July 2019 
Harbor Branch Institute starts intervention treatments on corals in Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward counties. 

Summer 2019 
The disease reported in Saint Martin, Belizeand St. Eustatius. 

Winter 2019 
The disease reported in St John (USVI), Culebra (Puerto Rico), and Grand Bahama Island (Bahamas) 

Spring 2020 
The disease reported in the British Virgin Islands. 

Summer 2020 
The disease was observed near Rebecca Shoal at the Western end of the Marquesas placing the disease boundary ~20 miles from Dry Tortugas National Park. The disease was also reported in the Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, St. Croix (USVI), New Providence (Bahamas)and at additional sites in Puerto Rico and St. Lucia.  

September 2020 
The disease reported in Honduras. 

October 2020 
The disease reported in Martinique. 

November 2020 
The first juvenile corals, offspring of rescued corals that were bred in captivity, were outplanted back onto wild Florida reefs. 

May 2021 
The disease reported in Dry Tortugas National Park.