Aruba Diadema antillarum mortality expedition August 2022

In late August, the team had word that Diadema antillarum was experiencing mass mortality in Aruba, some 4 months after the last major die-off was reported elsewhere in the Caribbean. This surprise event afforded the team and additional opportunity to sample specimens, together with demographic surveys performed by collaborators Don Behringer and Liz Duermit, at an active disease site. Ian traveled to Aruba to work with Don and Liz, and partners at the Aruba National Parks Foundation, to perform surveys of pathogen distribution. After arriving on the island, Ian, Don and Liz worked with Sietske van der Wal (Aruba National Parks) to survey sites at Mangel Hargo, Tres Tapis, and near the port to understand where microorganisms occur in nature during an active wasting event. This brief (2 day) survey will aide in understanding how pathogens behave in environmental reservoirs – and what else they may infect.