[Coral-List] Great Barrier Reef bleaching update

Hughes, Terry terry.hughes at jcu.edu.au
Tue Mar 1 20:34:14 EST 2016

Dear Coral-List

Yesterday, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority issued a level 1 bleaching alert, in response to many reports of "widespread and mild" coral bleaching. Typically about 5% of corals are paling or white on many individual reefs along the GBR, although more extensive bleaching is occurring at Lizard Island.

The latest Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts predict very warm water temperatures through the month of March, which is likely to push up the current level of bleaching. However, since we have now reached the summer maximum, we remain hopeful that there is not enough time now before the summer wanes for the GBR to undergo a mass bleaching as it did in 1998 or 2002. It will depend on the local weather over the next couple of weeks.

In Western Australia, bleaching is expected to occur in April, and it could be severe.

We have established a National Coral Bleaching Taskforce to co-ordinate research effort among Australia's marine science community in the event of a mass bleaching event in Australia. The taskforce draws together 10 research institutions across Australia to co-ordinate the efforts of over 300 scientists. The associated research institutions are, ARC Centre of Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, James Cook University, NOAA, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, CSIRO and WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.

You can read more about the Taskforce here: http://www.coralcoe.org.au/news/national-coral-bleaching-taskforce-keeping-a-close-watch-on-the-reef

Best wishes, Terry
Professor Terry Hughes FAA
ARC Laureate Fellow
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811

Link to Terry Hughes Google Scholar profile<http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=MhJ2LfsAAAAJ>

Email: terry.hughes at jcu.edu.au<mailto:terry.hughes at jcu.edu.au>
Phone: 61 (0)7 4781 4000
Website: http://www.coralcoe.org.au/postdocs/terry-hughes

ABC TV Future Forum: Can coral reefs survive the 21st century (60 minutes)

ABC TV (Catalyst): Future response of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change (8 minutes)

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