Jun 29 2016

Rainbow Reefs Turned Bleached Benthos

Published by under Student blog entries

We all know the most popular bucket list place on earth- “42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”. We have recently found our lost friends and since the phenomena began we have killed off the community that supports life for twenty-five percent of the world’s marine animals. The corals themselves were transplants and we currently admire the algae they host on the limestone fortresses. Coral acts as a massive foundation for much of the world we know.

“Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean’s ecosystem” states the New York Times’ Journalist Innis. The coral reefs feed the large fish populations that much of the developing nations rely on for protein and income. The coral itself feeds on the algae that lives on the limestone the coral creates. This harbor of hospitality can be adversely affected by too much sunlight. Heat stress caused by three combining factors over the course of a few years have left the communities submerged in their own toxins, the corals were left to starve without the proper balance of water temperatures.

coral reef blog

National Geographic – Bleached Coral Reef

Not having time to recover from a 2013 warm winter caused by blocked polar air resulted in a decline of the corals. With little relief from what is now known as “the Blob”, the waters west of North America took an increase of four degrees to stress the corals of Australia to a greater extent. Then the final, most powerful event came in 2015 with the start of the worst El Nino in a century. The corals that can take centuries to grow into large reefs were possibly bleached for good because of the multitude of climate change impacts.

"Blob" that warmed much of the Pacific Ocean, and caused distress on the corals.

“Blob” that warmed much of the Pacific Ocean, and caused distress on the corals.

El Nino expected to last into 2017 could mean extinction level damage to the over five-hundred reefs in the Great Barrier reef alone. There have been previous bleaching’s in the past decades. With one in 1998 after an El Nino killed sixteen percent of the world’s reefs, and then they were bleached again in 2010. In 2015, the waters were ten degrees warmer than the average seventy-eight degrees, and shows the constant regression climate change has done to the coral reefs.

Coral reefs are one of the many biotic indicators that should be warning signs to the overall negative human impact. Let the bleaching of the corals be our warning sign to help protect the oceans we rely on for our world’s biodiversity.


Corals . (2016). Retrieved from National Geographic: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/coral/

Innis, M. (2016, April 9). Climate-Related Death of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists. Retrieved from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/world/asia/climate-related-death-of-coral-around-world-alarms-scientists.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fearth&action=click&contentCollection=earth&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement

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