Bleaching in American Samoa - March 2001

Craig Mundy cmundy at
Tue Apr 10 00:54:53 EDT 2001

Dear listers,

>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 
were affected.  

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.  



Craig Mundy
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

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