There is a certain urgency to identify coral diseases, predict their prevalence and determine whether they are infectious and contagious or non-communicable. By understanding the etiology of coral diseases, we can determine whether human intervention will help reduce their prevalence.
Spatial epidemiology, or disease mapping, can provide insight into whether diseases cluster and follow a contagious-disease model. We will examine the relative risk of coral diseases and determine whether the odds are greater and the risk is higher for corals to develop signs of disease at localities that have experienced a high-return frequency of high thermal anomalies. We will contrast these results with the relative risk of developing signs of disease at localities that have experienced a lower return frequency of thermal stress anomalies.