Could dust be killing reefs?

ed43835d-31af-47c6-acde-73638995061c

Editor's Picks
Features Post
What caused this snail die-off?
04 January 2022
Fishkeeping News Post
Nanochromis transvestitus
04 January 2022
Features Post
How do I feed these tricky gobies?
04 January 2022
Features Post
Should I add sand for my Rams?
04 January 2022
Features Post
How to set up your Christmas tank
20 December 2021


A senior geologist at the US Geological Survey has put forward a theory that coral reefs off the Florida coast and in the Caribbean are being killed by micro-organisms that live inside giant dust clouds lifted out of the African desert and carried across the Atlantic by winds.

Gene Shinn has kept a record of a coral reef formation off Key Largo since 1960 - and what was once a vibrant coral colony is now lifeless.

He soon realized that some of the major die-offs in coral reefs in the 1980s coincided with droughts in Africa that produced enormous dust clouds.

A later comparison of a fungus contained in African dust with spores that were killing coral sea fans in the Caribbean proved to be a match.