Black-band coral disease

by Dr. Robert Jonas


Black-band was the first disease of coral colonies to be described in the early 1970s.  Now we recognize about 30 different diseases all around the world.  What is the cause?  Mainly the specific causes are unknown.  It is suspected that environmental stress; for example elevated sea surface temperature, sedimentation, increased ultraviolet light; make corals susceptible to attack by endogenous microbes in the reef system or even on the coral itself.




Coral ecology and disease are the focus of both research and courses in ESP – students and faculty study both from a research and academic perspective.  Each spring Mason sends a group of students to the Bahamas for a coral ecology class on a live aboard sailboat.  The usual itinerary is to assemble in Nassau and sail for week of study in the Exumas.  Certainly seems like a good way to study!

Important Dates for Students

SPRING 2020 Semester (modified due to COVID-19)

MLK Day (university closed): Jan 20

First day of classes: Jan 21

Spring Break (extended): Mar 9-20

Dissertation/Thesis Deadline: May 8

Last day of classes: May 11

Reading Day(s): May 12

Final Exam Period: May 13-20

University Commencement: May 22 (tentative)

COVID-19 DATE CHANGES – For the complete modified spring calendar, see and for latest COVID-19 updates, see: