Marine biologists from the University of Queensland is looking at coral reefs in Hawaii and what they see is not good.
They used high resolution images to track coral bleaching and death. Recently coral reefs in Hawaii suffered their first known mass bleaching event, caused by unusually warm waters associated with the now famous “Blob” of warm sea water in the Pacific.
An overall warming trend (anthropogenic global warming) along with the additional effects of a growing El Niño seem to be causing this.
This phenomenon is happening now. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, chief scientist at Global Change Institute (Queensland) noted. “the coral bleaching we are uncovering in Hawaii is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we expect to unfold over the next few weeks. Ocean heat has not fully dissipated since last year’s bleaching event, adding stress to corals that haven’t fully recovered and which may not be strong enough to survive another bleaching event.”
The research team will continue to measure bleaching on the Hawaiian reefs for the remainder of the year. With increasingly warm waters in the region, this is a story to watch closely.
More information here.