Coral Bleaching in Tuvalu and Fiji

sauni_s at sauni_s at
Mon May 27 17:06:29 EDT 2002

Dear Ray,

I wish to add other details to your information re bleaching in the
southern hermisphere. I report here coral bleaching in Tuvalu
during our two weeks surveys.

>From May 2-16, 2000, Ron Vave and I surveyed 6 sites within the
Funafuti lagoon (capital of Tuvalu), with each site consisting of 3
habitats (reef crest/top, slope and lagoon floor).  We are still
computerizing our field data.  The surveys was part of the GCRMN
project under the SW pacific node which is coordinated from the
Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific.

For the two sites we have analyzed so far, we recorded an average
% bleached for the most dominant coral family, Acroporidae
(Acropora muricata, A. robusta etc), to be 70%.  Bleaching is
equally distributed in branching and tabulate acroporas. A little less
than 20% average cover was recorded for Pocilloporidae (e.g.
Styllophora sp.), while Agariciidae, Faviidae and Mussidae < 10%.
Bleaching was particularly dominant over the reef crest and slope
habitats though, average 50% bleaching was recorded in low
coverage of acropora colonies at the lagoon floor.

We recorded 30.5 deg. C average for water temperature with the
highest being 32 deg. C.  We suspect bleaching to have been
started end of March and April.

Ron and I are will write the findings up for Tuvalu's report as part of
its submission to the secretariat of the SW pacific node of GCRMN

In addition, bleaching for 2000-01 in five sites, NE Viti Levu, Fiji
were closely monitored and surveyed six times at 3-4 months
interval since bleaching commenced April-May 2000.  Coral and
fish data generated from these surveys were part of my PhD
research. I am currently writing them up as well.


Samasoni SauniProject Coordinator
Post Harvest & Fisheries Development Project
Marine Studies Program
The University of the South Pacific
PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji Islands
Tel: 679 212879, 212051
Fax: 679 301490
email: sauni_s at

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