September 24, 2022

Caribbean corals. We need your help to investigate a devastating coral disease?

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8IDvK6H gNmseF2 HCbzhl5 nZKZ0AA PWYYXsZ Qzx8at9 uuZvLJGWhat is killing Caribbean corals? Investigating a devastating coral disease?

By Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn | Felicia Aronson From Experiment

If we understand what is damaging coral reefs, we can save them. White band disease is responsible for destroying up to 95% of two threatened reef-building coral species in the Caribbean. In spite of the devastating effects of the disease, a pathogen has not been identified. We aim to identify the cause of white band disease using infection experiments in order to develop methods of controlling disease outbreaks.

Budget Overview

These funds will allow us to go to Bocas del Toro, Panama and conduct a research trip. The trip will include experiments in the wet lab and collection of samples that will allow us to isolate a white band disease pathogen. The funds will cover our flights down to panama as well as housing and lab expenses while at STRI. Lab work will include preservation of coral samples at various time points over the course of infection with white band disease.


Lab fees$835


Boat and Diving costs $450


_MG_2784Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn

From a childhood spent in tidepools in Maine to studying the health of the Connecticut river and learning genetic techniques as an undergraduate, many aspects of my life have prepared me for this project. I enjoy combining ecological studies with cutting edge genetic techniques. Working in the Caribbean, I have witnessed the decline of coral reefs and how important these reefs are for both local inhabitants and visitors. I believe strongly that more research needs to be done on why these ecosystems are dying and how we can help prevent their extinction.

Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn Affiliations

B.A. Wesleyan University, 2010

Ph.D. candidate, Northeastern University Marine Science Center

Felicia Aronson

Growing up SCUBA diving in the Caribbean I spent hours observing and identifying any creature that crawled, swam, flew or hopped across my path. My love of marine ecology has taken me to complete field seasons from Maine to Malaysia to French Polynesia and ultimately back to the coral reefs of Panama. Together we can help save these important ecosystems.

Endorsed by

Mark R. Patterson

Sarah and Felicia’s work on the disease ecology of staghorn and elkhorn corals will be money well-spent. The species they are working on are proposed for listing on the endangered species list. Figuring out how white band disease works is an extremely important first step in figuring out how to help these species survive. The laboratory and sites where they are working is the best possible location to tackle this important issue. They are both very creative scientists, and have boundless energy to solve this puzzle.

Coral Reef Expert at Northeastern University

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