Bleaching in American Samoa - March 2001
cmundy at uow.edu.au
Tue Apr 10 00:54:53 EDT 2001
>From March 3 to March 21, Chuck Birkeland, Alison Green and
myself were in American Samoa conducting surveys in Fagatele
Bay, and other sites around Tuituila. Below is a summary of our
observations on coral bleaching during this period.
The coral bleaching was realatively minor, with the proportion
bleached (of total coral present) in the order of 1-2%, and never
more than 5%. However, the majority of individuals of two species -
Leptoria phrygia and Montastrea curta - were bleached. Individuals
of several other species were also bleached or partially bleached
(Acropora crateriformis, Leptastrea purpurea, Goniastrea edwardsi,
G. retiformis, Fungia spp, and some branching acropora's), but a
considerably smaller proportion of the population in these species
A noticeable aspect of the bleaching, even though minor, was that
bleached corals were observed at all sites visited (8), and at all
depths, and the same group of species were affected at each site.
There was no obvious difference in prevalence of bleaching from the
reef crest down to 126 ft depth. There may be a tendency for the
north shore to have a bit more than the south. The worse case of
bleaching we observed was at Cape Larsen on the north side of
Tuituila, and Masefau (also north shore) was also relatively strong.
We saw little, if any, evidence of disease. Chuck B was looking for
Dustan's diseases, but didn't really see anything out of the
ordinary. CLOD for crustose coralline algae was still present in
Fagatele Bay, but very very rare.
Institute for Conservation Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Ph: (02) 4221 4911
Fax: (02) 4221 4135
Email: cmundy at uow.edu.au
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