[Coral-List] article on 2016 Great Barrier Reef bleaching
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Wed Mar 15 16:10:56 EDT 2017
Ecology: Coral crisis captured
Ocean warming has triggered three major bleaching episodes on the Great
Barrier Reef over the past two decades. On page 373
Hughes *et al*. present an analysis of the extent and severity of these
events (T. P. Hughes *et al*. *Nature* *543*, 373–377; 2017
Not open access.
Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals
Aerial and underwater survey data combined with satellite-derived
measurements of sea surface temperature over the past two decades show that
multiple mass-bleaching events have expanded to encompass virtually all of
the Great Barrier Reef.
During 2015–2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of
coral bleaching, the third global-scale event since mass bleaching was
first documented in the 1980s. Here we examine how and why the severity of
recurrent major bleaching events has varied at multiple scales, using
aerial and underwater surveys of Australian reefs combined with
satellite-derived sea surface temperatures. The distinctive geographic
footprints of recurrent bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998, 2002
and 2016 were determined by the spatial pattern of sea temperatures in each
year. Water quality and fishing pressure had minimal effect on the
unprecedented bleaching in 2016, suggesting that local protection of reefs
affords little or no resistance to extreme heat. Similarly, past exposure
to bleaching in 1998 and 2002 did not lessen the severity of bleaching in
2016. Consequently, immediate global action to curb future warming is
essential to secure a future for coral reefs.
Not open-access. Note: "corresponding author"
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