British Virgin Islands Minister for Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley is calling on residents to help experts preserve various species of corals in the island’s waters.

Wheatley, in a statement released recently, said bacterial disease is affecting more than 20 different species of corals. Adverse factors such as climate change, sedimentation loads from land reclamation, and ocean acidification also contribute to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease by weakening the corals’ defenses, making them more susceptible.