How Algae Disappear From Corals During A Bleaching Event
(Click to enlarge) A before and after image of the bleaching in American Samoa. The first image was taken in December 2014. The second image was taken in February 2015 when the XL Catlin Seaview Survey responded to a NOAA coral bleaching alert. (Credit: XL Caitlin Seaview Survey)
Currently, the third massive worldwide coral reef bleaching event is unfolding. Corals from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean are affected, and recently, the worst bleaching ever witnessed in the Great Barrier Reef was reported.
(From The Global Scientist / by Tamakiu Bieri)– Once rare, coral bleaching events have increased both in frequency and severity over the past decades. Similar to the event in 1998, the current bleaching is caused by a combination of global warming and a strong El Niño. Whereas the last two global bleaching events (in 1998 and 2010) lasted one year each, the current event is spanning two years.
Coral reefs are among the world’s most complex ecosystems and are of immense ecological, economical, and aesthetic value. They provide habitat for a unique community of organisms including fish, turtles, sharks, crabs, shrimps, urchins, sponges, and microbes. For coastal communities, they provide food, coastal protection, and recreational possibilities.
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