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Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral

Posted By: Marty

Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral - 10/25/05 09:46 PM

Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral

Unusually warm temperatures in the Caribbean have caused severe coral
bleaching in recent weeks that could permanently damage many reefs,
according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA, which monitors corals in 24 shallow coral reef systems across the
globe, has issued bleaching alerts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands. Since early September, water surface temperatures in parts of the
Caribbean have been averaging 2 degrees Fahrenheit above historic monthly
maximums.

Warm sea surface temperatures subject corals to extreme stress, which
prompts them to expel the symbiotic microalgae that live in their tissues
and provide them with food.

Losing the algae deprives the coral of color and makes it appear b leached;
bleaching that lasts longer than a week can kill corals.

"Puerto Rico is experiencing the worst bleaching event ever," said Ernesto
Weil, a University of Puerto Rico professor. "Bleaching is both widespread
and intense, with colonies representing 42 species completely white in many
reefs. In our surveys, 85 to 95 percent of coral colonies were bleached in
some reef areas."
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Posted By: MALIBU

Re: Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral - 10/26/05 02:25 PM

This is terrible. It can kill a reef quickly.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral - 10/26/05 05:05 PM

The year of Hurricane Mitch we had some pretty dramatic coral bleaching near AC. After the hurricane, the affected coral returned to normal color and health very quickly - I was expecting the worst, but the reef seemed to bounce back really well.
The reef in our area was looking pretty spectacular last week - haven't had a chance to get in the water since Wilma, but will do so soon.
Posted By: BC

Re: Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral - 10/26/05 09:55 PM

I dove Akumal, Mx the week of 10/10 and the bleaching there is out of control.
In some places, as far as you can see, all the reef is bleached.
Not a good sight.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: Unusually Warm Caribbean Sets Off Bleaching of Coral - 10/28/05 02:16 PM

If there is any benefit to a hurricane (and trust me I am NOT a fan of these monsters) it is that the waters are stirred and cooled in the wake of the storm.
With all the stirring you'd think we'd have ice-floes in the Yucatan channel by now, but at least I think there is a chance the bleaching will stop in our area.
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