Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Warmer water temperatures can result in coral bleaching. When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality.

In 2005, the U.S. lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean in one year due to a massive bleaching event. The warm waters centred around the northern Antilles near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expanded southward. Comparison of satellite data from the previous 20 years confirmed that thermal stress from the 2005 event was greater than the previous 20 years combined.

Not all bleaching events are due to warm water.

In January 2010, cold water temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event that resulted in some coral death. Water temperatures dropped 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the typical temperatures observed at this time of year. Researchers will evaluate if this cold-stress event will make corals more susceptible to disease in the same way that warmer waters impact corals.(Ack: oceanservice.noaa.gov)

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for more than 1,400 miles off Australia’s NE coast, has been called the largest living structure on earth.  A survey led by biologist Terry Hughes, the director of the Arc Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland Australia, found that two-thirds of the northern sector of the reef has been badly damaged by a massive bleaching event that occurred in 2016.

The catastrophic damage to Australia’s reefs is part of a global phenomenon that is threatening the survival of coral worldwide, Hughes says, and is a clear warning that we need to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. How much of it is as a result of human activities?

All life forms are subject to larger forces that operate and must learn to survive. Would it help by blaming the north, south or the third world countries? Or make a concerted effect to ease stresses by a joint action plan?


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