Washington, DC (global-adventures.us): Coral reefs suffered record losses as a consequence of high ocean temperatures within the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean in 2005, consistent with the foremost comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching so far . Researchers and volunteers from 22 countries report that quite 80 percent of surveyed corals bleached. Over 40 percent of the entire surveyed died, making this the foremost severe bleaching event ever recorded within the basin. Coral bleaching occurs when stress causes corals to expel their symbiotic algae, or zooxanthellae. If prolonged or particularly severe, it’s going to end in coral death.
“Heat stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed within the Caribbean within the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in a minimum of 150 years,” said C. Mark Eakin, coordinator of NOAA’s reef Watch Program. “This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term Coral Surveyconsequences for reef ecosystems. Events like this are likely to become more common because the climate warms.”
tools from NOAA’s reef Watch Program guided site selection for field observations conducted across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality during this study surpass prior efforts in both detail and extent. The study also substantially raised the standards for documenting the consequences of bleaching. It is testing satellite and forecast products, NOAA says.
Several species and localities reported bleaching for the primary time. It includes the primary known bleaching of any kind in Saba, the primary documented mass bleaching at the garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, and therefore the first reported mass bleaching in Virgin Islands park of Elkhorn Coral (Acropora Palmata), a species listed as threatened under the U.S. species Act in 2006.
is suffering severe bleaching again this year, and in some locations. This bleaching event is worse than the event in 2005, NOAA says. Not only are temperatures causing further damage to reefs hit hard during the 2005 event, but new locations have also been impacted. The decline and loss of coral reefs has significant social, cultural, economic and ecological impacts on people and communities throughout the planet . because the rainforests of the ocean , coral reefs provide economic services estimated to be worth the maximum amount as $375 billion annually .
The full study has been published in PLoS ONE, a world open-access online publication.
The picture shows a NOAA diver with a 1 square metre survey tool examining a bleached reef colony in St. Croix, USVI, in October 2005.
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