Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coral Reef Bleaching

The article presents a summary of studies that show a link between warm temperatures due to global warming and the outbreaks of coral diseases on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch program has examined this issue in previous studies, in which both warm and cold stress were significant to determine the susceptibility of corals to disease outbreaks.

Coral reefs provide food and shelter for fish and other marine life; therefore its lost would not only be affecting the environment but it would bring significant economical and ecological lost for people and communities. Coral reefs provide an estimated worth of $375 billion each year on different services. As a result satellite monitor of the sea surface temperature has been set in order to predict coral bleaching “where corals lose the symbiotic algae that give them their distinctive colors.” (NOAA) The satellite provides current data of reef environmental conditions, so when bleaching occurs, the monitoring can be used to trigger bleaching response plans and execute proper management decisions. NOAA is aware that any advance technical equipment would not be able to stop coral disease or bleaching unless we do something to decrease global warming, however, the NOAA program’s purpose is to give managers enough time to reduce human-use stressors in waters, such as diving, swimming, fishing and boating. Additionally, NOAA’ Coral Reef Watch program and the new experimental Coral Disease Outbreak Risk Map product, which provides a seasonal outlook of winter metrics and outbreak risk management, would offer focus on research efforts by providing a proper understanding of environmental factors that lead to these coral reefs outbreaks. Reports say that coral bleaching has been seen in Southeast Asia, the Indian and Pacific Ocean with a high potential in the Caribbean.

NOAA expects the warming to continue therefore increasing coral bleaching worldwide. The importance of these studies is that at least with the advance satellite equipment we would be able to have a better knowledge of the issue and do something about it. The product is currently been used in Australian waters, but as shown in the article, coral bleaching is expanding to other waters, therefore there are projects with the satellite equipment already set to be use in other areas. We could try to prevent more damages to the water, but we can’t stop the bleaching and outbreak of coral reefs unless we decrease the greenhouse gases.

Written by: Flor D Medina Chavez.


(2010, September 17). Coral disease outbreaks linked to cooler temperatures. Environment. Retrieved from
(2010, September 10). Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring. NOAA Satellite and Information Service. Retrieved from


1 comment:

  1. I like that at the end of the article the author gives some sort of solutions to the issue. Would we be able to follow them? That’s the big question. I do hope so because I truly fear it would come a time where people would not be able to go in the water due to its acidity and probably to the decrease of existing aquatic species.

    Me gusta que al final del artículo el autor da soluciones al problema. ¿Seremos capaces de seguirlos? Esa es la gran pregunta. Eso espero porque realmente temo que llegue un tiempo donde la gente no sea capaz de meterse al agua debido a su acidez y, probablemente, a la disminución de las especies acuáticas existentes.