Coral Bleaching - Saudi Arabia/Gulf

Wed Nov 27 03:56:12 EST 1996

Extensive geographic and multi-species coral bleaching was 
observed in the summer and early fall of 1996 in nearshore 
coral communities along the Saudi Gulf coast. Less extensive 
bleaching was also observed in the offshore island of Jana, 
and some offshore coral communities north of Bahrain. 

Seawater temperatures exceeded 37 degrees C in nearshore habitats, 
and reached 35 C or higher at offshore locations.  A report by Roger 
Uwate (23 Sep 1996; Coral bleaching in Bahrain, Arabian Gulf) 
describes similar phenomena. 

Extreme temperature excursions are normal for summer months 
 in the Gulf (Coles, 1988  Proc. 6th ICRS 3:211-216; Coles and 
Fadlallah, 1991 Coral Reefs, 9:231-237), but corals appear to 
succumb when the temperature extremes hold for long  periods. 
In the summer of 1996, nearshore (central coast) seawater 
temperature held between 33.5 - 37 C for no less than 90 days. 

I'd like to make contact with Roger Uwate (if he reads this), and 
anyone in the Gulf who might have documented similar events. I have 
a second hand anecdotal report of bleaching from the United Arab 
Emirates, and would like to corroborate that.  Any inforamation 
from Kuwait and Qatar is welcome. 

Please post only appropriate responses to the list.  Otherwise contact 
me directly.  I would be happy to provide additional information on 
bleaching and mortality rates for various species. 

Yusef Fadlallah		Voice: 966-3-860-3237 
Research Institute - KFUPM	Fax:    966-3-860-3220 
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia	Internet: yfadlal at 
Saudi Arabia 

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