[Coral-List] Bleaching update: Western Indian Ocean and Coral Triangle

Emily Darling edarling at wcs.org
Tue Jun 21 13:53:29 EDT 2016

Dear Coral-List,

Recently, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) shared a rapid assessment
bleaching methodology to study the global impacts of the ongoing 2016 coral
bleaching event.

Here are the highlights of our initial findings from surveys throughout the
Western Indian Ocean, Coral Triangle and other locations:

   - Between February and May 2016, WCS and colleagues from the University
   of Copenhagen, Reef Conservation, IUCN, Muséum National d'Histoire
   Naturelle, the Université de la Réunion and James Cook University conducted
   bleaching surveys at 172 sites in 11 countries: Fiji, Solomon Islands,
   Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Maldives,
   Mauritius and Reunion.
   - In total, we recorded 42,942 hard coral colonies in 65 genera across
   ~5000m2 of reef areas. Approximately 53% of all observed colonies (n =
   22,882) were bleached, and bleaching was recorded in 57 genera (~88% of
   observed genera).
   - Individual sites were highly variable in their response to bleaching;
   the percent of bleaching colonies ranged from 0 to 100%, with an average of
   53.6% +/- 27.8% sd. This suggests locations have a diversity of responses
   to the ongoing bleaching, and that some locations can escape severe
   - Hard corals of common genera Acropora, Porites (massive and branching
   growth forms), Pocillopora and Fungia all displayed > 50% bleaching of
   colonies, suggesting bleaching has affected important framework builders on
   Indo-Pacific reefs.

Our methodologies and Excel template for data entry can be found by
contacting Emily Darling (edarling at wcs.org) or Tim McClanahan (
tmcclanahan at wcs.org).

We welcome all further contributions and collaborations of bleaching

Best regards,

Emily S. Darling, PhD
Associate Conservation Scientist
Wildlife Conservation Society
Skype: emily_darling
Google scholar <https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=juP1o-UAAAAJ>

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