19 October 2010

"Worst coral die-off seen since 1998" due to coral bleaching

"Certainly the worst coral die-off seen since 1998. It may prove to be the worst such event known to science," says the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies about the recent coral bleaching.
IMG_3128a
Bleaching at Cyrene Reef in Jun 2010, photo by Marcus Ng
shared on the
Bleach Watch Singapore flickr group

Many reefs are dead or dying across the Indian Ocean and into the Coral Triangle following a bleaching event that extends from the Seychelles in the west to Sulawesi and the Philippines in the east and include reefs in Sri Lanka, Burma Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many sites in western and eastern Indonesia.

"Although the Coral Triangle is the richest region for corals on Earth, it relies on other regions around its fringes to supply the coral spawn and fish larvae that help keep it so rich. So there are both direct and indirect effects on Coral Triangle reefs which will affect their ability to recover from future disturbance." say the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

More photos of coral bleaching in Singapore
shared on the
Bleach Watch Singapore flickr group.

Meanwhile, IUCN reports that their scientists found coral bleaching on the reefs of Mayotte, an island that lies to the north west of Madagascar to be the worst seen in the Indian Ocean.

Murky water saves bleaching corals?

According to the IUCN :
The researchers confirmed a pattern that is increasingly reported in other locations, whereby corals accustomed to the inner turbid waters of lagoons showed higher resistance to bleaching than corals on outer clear-water reefs.

“Turbidity or green water during a high temperature stress event appears to protect corals,” explains Dr Obura. “This is in contrast to our prior expectation of corals in clear oceanic waters being generally healthier.”

For the full media articles:

For more on coral bleaching in Singapore, see Bleach Watch Singapore.

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