[Coral-List] Bleaching in Bermuda

Clay Cook ccook at HBOI.edu
Wed Sep 3 09:16:20 EDT 2003

 Greetings all, 
Last week  Gang Liu and  Al Strong posted a note about about elevated SST's
near Bermuda and inquired about any bleaching information.  Here is
correspondence we have had regarding same:
From: Clay Cook   Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 9:04 AM
Dear Alan and Gang,
Many thanks for the heads-up. I had a class field trip to the outer reefs in
Bermuda on August 4th; there was extensive bleaching of Millepora alcicornis
on the outer reefs, and some of Diploria labyrithiformis then. I think that
the Bermuda Benthic Ecology Research group has more extensive observations.

Curiously there seemed to be little bleaching of fire corals on the patch
reefs. This is similar to what we had observed during the 1988 Bermuda event
(Cook et al. 1990: Coral Reefs 9:45-49).

Best regards,


From: Samantha de Putron  Sent: 8/27/2003 9:36 AM

Dear Alan, Gang and Clay,
The Benthic Ecology Lab at the Bermuda Biological Station is indeed
undergoing bleaching and disease surveys of all reef zones in Bermuda over
the next couple of weeks to substantiate the recent and current observations
of bleaching in Bermuda. We will provide a report once concluded.

Thank you for the satellite information.



Dr Samantha de Putron
Bermuda Biological Station for Research
Ferry Reach, St Georges GE 01,
Tel: (441) 297 1880 x 261
Fax: (441) 297 8143
From: Robbie Smith [mailto:bermuda1 at bellsouth.net]
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 1:53 AM
Hello Al and Gang,
I was also in Bermuda at the end of July and early August and can 
confirm Clay's observation of extensive Millepora bleaching. We should 
have good surface and sub surface temperature records for this period, 
for example we measured 30.3 0C on the outer northern reef edge with a 
calibrated thermometer at 1 m depth, as part of our routine CARICOMP 
I was googling for data for a lecture last week and saw a graphic of La 
Nina events n the Atlantic, I thought it indicated that we are in a 
weak La Nina phase right now and that back in 1988 there was a strong 
La Nina, producing the first recorded bleaching event in Bermuda, which 
Clay noted. The 98 La Nina seems to correlated with moderate bleaching 
in Bermuda in that year. Unfortunately I can't track down that info on 
the web again. Do you know of or have data products showing La Nina 
effects (degree heating weeks?) in the Bermuda since 1988. It would be 
interesting to gauge the magnitude of the effect in different La Nina 
years and see how they match up with our field records of temperature 
and bleaching.
Keep up the good work.
Struan R. Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist
Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Inc
From: Alan E Strong [mailto:Alan.E.Strong at noaa.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 12:49 PM
Thanks for the info Clay...
Funny, but I was just recalling the 1988 Bermuda event that started this
project rolling....
Our time-series of SST shows SSTs going critical the beginning of
seem to verify that from your Aug 4 obs.
At the moment we have half of our 24 sites on our Bleaching Indices page
up" for possible bleaching!...

Clayton B. Cook, Ph. D.
Senior Scientist
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
5600 US 1 North
Ft. Pierce, FL  USA   34946

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Ph (772)-465-2400 ext 301
Fax   (772)-468-0757


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