Minimize the risk of spreading pathogens
When investigating coral disease outbreaks, divers and gear are often exposed to diseased tissues or potentially diseased waters/ other vectors, and are therefore at risk of spreading potential pathogens to unaffected corals or habitats through their actions.
It is critical that any sampling, monitoring, or other direct interaction with diseased materials or locations be coordinated to progress from the “cleanest” or “healthiest” location to the “dirtiest” or most diseased. This will minimize the risk of transporting pathogenic particles from a diseased site to an unaffected one.
Porous materials such as neoprene gear (wetsuits, booties, gloves, etc.) can proliferate potentially harmful microorganisms, especially if stored damp. It is therefore recommended that all gear exposed to disease be disinfected with ammonium-based disinfectants or chlorine bleach before visiting unaffected locations.
See below for specific decontamination instructions for sampling and diving gear: