[Coral-List] Bleaching in Tonga

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sat May 10 02:11:39 EDT 2014

Bleaching in northern Tonga

     In late February, 2014, members of a survey project in northern Tonga,
South Pacific, began to notice scattered bleached corals.  Most corals that
showed bleaching at that time were partially bleached, and were in a
variety of genera and species.  One thicket of staghorn was white.  Since
then, the number of bleached colonies has increased, and many that are
bleached are now completely bleached.  Although there are more bleached
colonies, the bleached colonies are still only a minority of all colonies.  So
far there does not appear to be mortality.  These observations come from
the northern “Vava’u Group” of islands in Tonga, at this time we do not
have information on the central or southern groups of islands in Tonga.  We
anticipate that water temperatures should have reached their peak and
should now be decreasing, as the austral summer ends, and we hope that
colonies will soon begin to recover their color.

    The “BioRAP” (Biological Rapid Assessment) survey was led and funded by
the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) based in Apia,
Samoa, with funding from GEF (Global Environmental Fund) of the UN.  The
organizer and leader was Bruce Jeffries.  The Waitt Foundation provided
support from their research vessel.  We thank the Tongan Ministry of the
Environment and Ministry of Fisheries for their assistance.  We thank all
the organizations and survey team members.

Karen Stone

Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA)
info at vavauenvironment.org

Douglas Fenner

Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084
website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

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