An Update On Global Coral

A 3 year period of coral killing waters seems to be subsiding, experts say.

Corals, when talked about on a global and smaller scale, are both important and fragile; the unfortunate pairing of high dependability from humans with a short range of tolerance. In the news yesterday, experts from the US National and Oceangraphic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) released new data pointing to the closeure of the global bleaching event that has spanned 3 years. This has left environmentalists positive with the question of achievable recovery the next concern.

Coral Bleaching is a process whereby warm water over a length of time causes living organisms within the Coral (polyps) to reject colourful algae inside, turning the Coral white. This creates problems then for the food web , global climate and of course for humans themselves. Unfortunately, the recent bleaching event and the one in question has affected every major Coral region since it started in 2014. The underlying cause of the bleaching is likely climate change but has been worsened by the weather cycle of El Niño, in a similar way to past bleaching events.

The good news comes when the NOAA released that bleaching is no longer global, an indicator that the event is drawing in. The bleaching statistically claimed much of the ocean’s Coral regions which begs the question of whether successful recovery will precede. According to the WWF, roughly 1/4 of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair.

Its important to recognise that corals can and will recover quickly if stresses (harmful factors) are removed. The factor causing this event was climate change and increased effort is being made to stop drastic change every day. However, this factor will remain perhaps the biggest threat. Other threats include tourism and the idea of coral ‘souvenirs’ should not be adopted by anyone snorkelling. In terms of industry, pollutants running off into the oceans is another worry and alters the nitrogen levels of the ocean.

The news of this coral bleaching potentially ending should serve as more self encouragement to conserve corals and there is no doubt that making our oceans more colourful will need more and more effort.

Sources:

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/reef-resilience.html

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/coasts/coral_reefs/coral_threats/

 

 

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Rosie Alice

Environmental Studies student in Winchester, UK.

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