[Coral-List] Bleaching Havens

Mark Eakin Mark.Eakin at noaa.gov
Mon May 15 09:34:38 EDT 2006

This is one of the items discussed in the "Reef Manager's Guide to  
Coral Bleaching".  This document will be printed this summer for  
release at ITMEMS and the October US Coral Reef Task Force.

With the rise in bleaching events, including the severe event in  
2005, we do need to consider what can be done to help reduce the  
impact bleaching is having on our reefs.  Shading may be one of the  
best options.  If the fabric used allowed surface water to move  
through it, it may not have much impact on evaporative cooling.   
White or light colored fabrics could help reflect in the incoming  
solar to reduce other slight warming effects.

The problem is that these ideas have not been tested on even small  
reef scales.  The next step seems to be running these experiments  
that scale the work up from colony-scale to reef scale.


On Apr 11, 2006, at 12:55 AM, Paul Muir wrote:

> I was wondering if people have investigated ways to protect small  
> areas of
> reef from warm water bleaching events. We were recently in the west  
> Indian
> Ocean and were quite surprised at how slowly the reefs are  
> recovering from
> the '98 bleaching event - at least by our (GBR) standards. We  
> attributed
> this slow recovery to the severity of the bleaching (95% + in many  
> places)
> and the isolated nature of the reefs - presumably this would have  
> meant that
> larval supply available for recovery was initially very low.  In  
> many places
> for example, all the Acroporas we saw were post-98 recruits. Given  
> this slow
> recovery it begs the questions:  (a) what if there's two such  
> events within
> a few years (b) have there already been local extinctions and (c) can
> anything be done to get a faster rate of recovery?
> I understand that warm water bleaching coral mortality can  
> sometimes be
> reduced by reducing solar irradiation? If so it would be relatively  
> "easy"
> to shade small areas of reef for short periods of time during the  
> warm water
> event using a plastic fabric that is used in greenhouses (ironic!)  
> and dam
> covers. The fabric is light, inexpensive, tough, it floats and is  
> easily
> welded or sewn - fitted with air pockets it would be quite possible  
> to make
> a portable, floating cover which could shade several hundred square  
> meters
> of reef for short periods. Not sure if this would work (it might  
> make it
> hotter!!) but some type of 'haven' could provide a source of recruits/
> larvae- speeding recovery and possibly reducing localised  
> extinction of
> rarer species in isolated reef systems.
> Dr. Paul Muir
> Museum of Tropical Queensland,
> 78-104 Flinders St,
> Townsville QLD 4810 Australia.
> ph 07 47 260 642 fax 07 47 212 093
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov

E/RA31, SSMC1, Room 5308
1335 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226
301-713-2857 x109                   Fax: 301-713-3136

More information about the Coral-List mailing list