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Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is a hard-coral disease that causes rapid tissue loss; reportedly infecting more than 1,000 colonies of coral in the Caribbean Sea in recent years. Unlike white plague and other common coral diseases, SCTLD affects 22 species that make up 50% of hard-coral species in Florida and the Caribbean [1]. This presents a serious setback for reefs already suffering from rising sea temperatures associated with climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, fishing pressures, and other increasing human interaction [1].


SCTLD was first recorded in 2014 in Miami-Dade county, Florida by a university program funded by the federal government as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Stony Coral Conservation and Research Program. The disease has since spread south throughout the Florida Keys and the Caribbean [5] and has been identified as a potential threat to coral reefs in parts of South America and Africa [Sources: 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 16]. Presently, Florida's coral reef has lost 98% of its living coral cover in recent decades and is struggling to survive amid the growing pressures of disease, the impact of climate change, pollution and other serious challenges [11].