Bleaching Already

Pam Muller pmuller at
Fri May 21 13:27:04 EDT 1999

Our reef-dwelling forams (Amphistegina gibbosa) continue their "90's habit
of "bleaching" in the early spring.  This year, about 30% of the specimens 
exhibited some mottling in early May.

My casual observation is that our forams seem to parallel Palythoa and, to
a lesser extent, Acaricia, with respect to bleaching.

On May 4 I noted partly bleached Agaricia at 30 m and some light/purple
color in Siderastrea and occassionally some pale Montastrea at 15 m at
Conch Reef. Unfortunately, I have no idea if that bleaching was residual
from last year.

We are also seeing a type of infestation in our forams we haven't
noticed before.  We haven't ID'ed it yet, but the culprit may be
opportunistic cyanobactera. 

Pamela Hallock Muller
Department of Marine Science
University of South Florida
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
pmuller at
Phone: 727-553-1567
FAX: 727-553-1189 	NOTE NEW AREA CODE!!!

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what
nobody has thought."  - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi -

On Thu, 20 May 1999, Danny Gleason wrote:

> Just returned from Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas.  Although water
> temperatures did not appear to be at coral stress levels, we observed
> substantial bleaching in both fore and back reef areas from depths <1 m to
> 18 m.  We made no excursions below 18 m so cannot confirm whether or not
> bleaching was occurring below this depth.  Species affected include
> Montastrea franksi, M. faveolata, M. annularis, Diploria labyrinthformis,
> Colpophyllia natans, Agaricia tenuifolia, and a few Porites astreoides,
> Millepora complanata, and Favia fragum.  There may be others, but these
> species were most noticable.  Most large colonies are bleached on their
> upper surfaces.  
> The way the corals appear this early in the summer suggest that it could be
> another rough year.  Interestingly, we were in Key Largo, Florida just
> prior to the Lee Stocking trip and did not notice any bleaching.  
> Any hypotheses about what might be going on?  Don't think this is related
> to "Hot Spots!"
> Best wishes,
> **************************************
> "Heck, we're invertebrates, my boy!  As a whole, we're
> the movers and shakers on this planet!  Spineless 
> superheroes, that's what we are!"
> Father Worm to his son in "There's a Hair in My Dirt - 
> A Worm Story" by Gary Larson
> **************************************
> Daniel Gleason
> Department of Biology
> Georgia Southern University
> P.O. Box 8042
> Statesboro, GA  30460-8042
> Phone: 912-681-5957
> FAX: 912-681-0845
> E-mail: dgleason at
> **************************************

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