Coral bleaching and climate change

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg oveh at
Wed Mar 22 10:28:17 EST 2000

Dear Coral-listers

Bill Fitt and I are organizing a mini-symposium (E2) at the 9ICRS (Bali
23-27 October) entitled "Global Climate Change and Coral Reefs, 2. Bleaching
of Reef Corals and Other Symbioses.   This mini-symposium addresses a series
of questions in what must be one of the most actively researched and debated
areas of coral reef biology.  Three major questions will lie at the heart of
this mini-symposium:
(1) What do we know about the mechanisms underlying coral bleaching
(physiology of bleaching)?
(2) What are the long-term ramifications of a change in the frequency and
intensity of coral bleaching events (ecological ramifications of bleaching)?
(3) Is mass coral bleaching a sign of climate change (implications for coral
Ideally, we hope to be able to make a few joint statements that may be of
use in the wider arena of the climate change debate.
This will be a natural follow-on from mini-symposium E1 (Langdon and
Kleypas) whom we will be closely working with.
Please send an abstract to David Hopley (David.Hopley at and
to either myself (oveh at or Bill (fitt at
When contacting David Hopley, please indicate which mini-symposium (E2) you
intend to present at.
Instructions for abstract submission can be found on the conference home
page ( The deadline for abstract
submission is 30 APRIL 2000.
Read on for further information on the mini-symposium, otherwise we look
forward to seeing you in Bali!
Ove and Bill

Global Climate Change and Coral Reefs, 2. Bleaching of Reef Corals and Other
Symbioses Convenors: * Dr. William Fitt, Univ. of Georgia, USA. Dr. Ove
Hoegh-Guldberg, Univ. of Queensland, Australia.
Bleaching of reef corals (loss of algal symbionts or their symbiotic
capacity) has been linked to global warming and the demise of corals and
other symbiotic invertebrates on tropical reefs. Following the worst and
most widespread bleaching in record history in 1998, many coral reefs across
the world's tropical oceans appear to be damaged to the point where recovery
may take 30-100 years. The symposium feature talks on a wide array of issues
associated with bleaching phenomena. It will aim to coordinate and encourage
discussion across important areas range from the molecular (mechanisms and
bleaching) to the ecological processes (e.g. organismal impacts and
community change) involved in bleaching. This symposium will also invite
discussion on the important question of whether bleaching is a sign of
global climate change and hence seek the participation of coral reef
biologists interested in longer term patterns and time frames. Particular
emphasis will be placed on resolving the question of whether coral bleaching
is a threat to reef systems worldwide and whether coral bleaching is set to
increase in intensity and frequency in the next century.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Director, Centre for Marine Studies
University of Queensland
St Lucia, 4072, QLD

Ph:  07 3365 4333
Fax: 07 3365 4755
(replace 07 with 617 for international calls)
Email: oveh at

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