[Coral-List] Bleaching Reports, please

Tyler Smith tsmith at uvi.edu
Fri Sep 18 15:14:35 EDT 2015

Hi Mark and C-Listers,
We would like to share our recent bleaching observations in Eastern Tropical Pacific in relation to the ongoing strong positive phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  We’ll send to Coral Reef Watch separately, but we thought that the list might benefit from sharing this data under one thread here.

Our NSF-RAPID group has been funded to look at the possible bleaching, resistance, and recovery of coral reefs and communities in the eastern tropical Pacific (Panama and Galapagos).  These sites correspond to the 40 year record of coral response to +ENSO from one of our group (Peter Glynn).  We recently conducted research trips in July and August, 2015 and have noted the following:

Western Panama.  There is ongoing moderate bleaching in the Gulf of Chiriqui, western Panama, with 69% of all corals assessed in < 6m depth with stark white bleached over 48% living colony surfaces.  The most severely affected species was Millepora intricata, which had already suffered nearly 100% mortality.  Many of the larger massive and sub-massive species (Gardinoseris planulata, Pavona clavus, Pavona varians, Porites lobata, Porites panamanensis) were bleached on their upper surfaces and mortality in bleached tissues was beginning.  The major framework builder, Poillopora spp., was mostly unbleached but many colonies were paling.  Bleaching severity decreased with depth.  For instance, M. intricata were pale to bleached, but living, at 10m and all normally colored at 18m.  [Note that estimates presented here are biased, since coral species were targeted to get near equal representation of species and do not represent the actual relative abundance of different species.  Observations from Aug. 16-22.  Sites assessed were Uva Is. (7..815, -81.759 ), Canal de Afuera (7.696, -81.633), and Secas Iss. (7.953, -82.011).]

Eastern Panama.  There was just a slight uptick in bleaching here (22% prevalence, 16% extent on colony for stark white bleaching) (Observations Aug. 25-28.  Sites around Contadora and Saboga Iss.  8.628, -79.045)

Gapapagos, Darwin Island.  Only some paling and no notable stark white bleaching.  We haven’t processed all of the data yet, so no numbers to report at this time (Observations July 22-25, Darwin Island.  1.676, -91.992).

We expect more severe bleaching with the next huge downwelling Kelvin Wave, that is super-heating the central Pacific, progresses eastward and impacts the eastern Pacific.  Now would be a great time for anyone to get out and do assessments.
The ETP RAPID Team (Peggy Fong, Andrew Baker, Peter Glynn, Derek Manzello, Tyler Smith, Wade McGillis, Viktor Brandtneris, Caitlin Fong, Phil Kushlan, Ana Palacio, and more)

Tyler B. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands
#2 John Brewers Bay, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  00802
Tel: 1 (340) 693-1394, Fax: 1 (340) 693-1385

Visit my Lab Website<https://sites.google.com/a/myuvi.net/tyler-b-smith-lab/what-s-new>

On Sep 18, 2015, at 11:49 AM, Mark Eakin <mark.eakin at noaa.gov<mailto:mark.eakin at noaa.gov>> wrote:

Just a quick reminder of the need to report bleaching so we can track the growing event.

In the Caribbean, we’ve been getting reports of bleaching in Upper and Lower Keys. We’ve heard a little about bleaching at a couple of sites in Cuba and mention of bleaching starting in Haiti. However, much of the central Bahamas is at Alert Level 1, along with all of the Keys (Upper and Lower Keys now at Alert Level 2), and Cuba, especially along the northern coast.

In the Pacific, Alert Level 2 conditions continue across the nation of Kiribati and we have had a few reports from Kanton and the island of Kiribati. All of the Main Hawaiian Islands are under Alert Level 1 and reports have started coming in from not only Oahu, but also Maui and the big island.

We really need two things:
1) Quick emails to let us know what you are seeing out there. Rough percentages of bleaching, location, and date is sufficient to just let us know where bleaching is ongoing. Please email your reports to coralreefwatch at noaa.gov<mailto:coralreefwatch at noaa.gov> <mailto:coralreefwatch at noaa.gov>
2) Bleaching reports using the qualitative and forms found on our bleaching reporting webpage: http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/research/coral_bleaching_report.php <http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/research/coral_bleaching_report.php>. These are needed to fully document the event and to compare against our satellite-based products.


C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov<mailto:mark.eakin at noaa.gov>
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov<http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov>

NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP)
5830 University Research Ct., E/RA32
College Park, MD 20740
Office: (301) 683-3320     Fax: (301) 683-3301
Mobile: (301) 502-8608    SOCD Office: (301) 683-3300

“There is legitimate scientific debate over the pace and effects of climate change but no legitimate debate over the fact of the earth’s warming or over man’s contribution."
William D. Ruckelshaus, EPA Administrator under President Ronald Reagan, June 18 2014

Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>

More information about the Coral-List mailing list