[Coral-List] Fw: RMI coral bleaching

John McManus jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
Thu Dec 4 12:28:05 EST 2014

By the way, there is a great example of oil sheens in the eastern portions of Majuro lagoon on Google Earth. There are also some in Ambon Bay, Indonesia, but from older imagery.


-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Karl Fellenius
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2014 8:55 PM
To: Coral List
Subject: [Coral-List] Fw: RMI coral bleaching

Coral Folks,

I’ve put together about 260mb of photos (90) on dropbox from recent monitoring mainly in Majuro in the RMI. As many of you are aware, bleaching started occurring here in mid to late September. It is still continuing. 

If you send me your dropbox name/email then I can add it to the folder permission so you can access many more and at higher resolution. I’ve included photos that show both bleached and unbleached colonies, and all are captioned with the location and depth.

I will be preparing a write-up from the recent manta tows and spot checks we have done in Majuro lagoon with the help of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, and hope to send that to NOAA Coral Watch soon. Please let me know if you want to be included on that mailing. Monitoring is continuing, although weather is affecting the effort.

Generally we have found that the bleaching is from the surface to at least 40m/140ft. This is based on observations in Calalin Pass and on a patch reef in Majuro lagoon. It has affected a wide range of genus and growth forms. Unfortunately the large table corals and branching thickets are particularly hard hit. Because we have limited means to assess extensively, it is difficult to say how bad it is in the RMI. But indications from a few sites in Majuro is that more than 75% of Acropora sp. are bleached, and likely 25% of massive varieties. All bleached colonies observed are algae-covered within a week of bleaching. In Majuro many herbivores are heavily fished, and thus there will likely be limited recovery. There is still of course, significant rationale for reducing resource extraction and other pollution stressors during this period of warming, although action on this type of mitigation is not likely to take place in time to reduce the likelihood that all non-massive colonies will be reduced to rubble.

Please feel free to forward this invite onwards to others.




Karl Fellenius, MRM
RMI Coastal Management Extension Agent

University of Hawai'i Sea Grant

RMI PacIOOS Liaison

Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System

6 Day Inundation & High Sea Level Forecast for Majuro

karl.fellenius at hawaii.edu

off  (692) 625-3392
cell (692) 455-5552


c/o College of the Marshall Islands

Marine Science Program

P.O. Box 1258
Majuro, MH 96960
Republic of the Marshall Islands

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