[Coral-List] Subject: Bleaching refuges

Austin Bowden-Kerby abowdenkerby at gmail.com
Tue Mar 29 19:48:06 EDT 2016

 Dear Paul,
I applaud your consideration for how we might develop a more proactive
strategy to save corals during mass bleaching events, rather than just
sitting back in horror and watching the corals die!
I have used shading in the past to prevent bleaching in shallow coral
nurseries effectively.  It works quite well when moving corals from deeper
water into the shallows, or from cooler reef front areas to the warm back
reef.  The corals will for the most part eventually adapt and learn to live
without shading in the nursery, making it an effective strategy to help the
corals adapt to their new environment.
However, for mass bleaching, while shading would work well to save some
corals over the short term, I think that shading would only postpone the
inevitable, as the next time the reef bleaches the coral is just as
vulnerable and would require more shading in order to survive- but perhaps
still better than allowing high value reefs to die?
Perhaps cloud seeding would be more widely effective?
Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
Corals for Conservation
P.O. Box 4649 Samabula, Fiji Islands

Sustainable Environmental Livelihoods Farm
Km 20 Sigatoka Valley Road, Fiji Islands
(679) 938-6437




> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 23:40:03 +0000
> From: Paul Muir <paul.muir at qm.qld.gov.au>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Bleaching refuges
> To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <E7687402888F6A4C9EB8A0876D1C3997012BF5BF6F at QMEXCH03>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> I proposed this idea many years ago (~2005!) on coral list and am
> wondering if anyone ever tried anything like this? Given the current
> bleaching on the northern GBR and likelihood of other areas being hit soon
> perhaps it's worth someone doing a trial? Desperate times..
> Severe coral bleaching events can cause very high levels of coral morality
> and the recovery of reefs following such events can be very slow. For
> example, recovery of corals in the Seychelles Islands following the severe
> 1998 bleaching event was extremely slow and regional extinction of some
> species a possibility. Localised extinctions and slow recovery could be
> mitigated if small areas of reef were protected during bleaching events:
> corals have extremely high  fecundity and only a few healthy individuals of
> each species would needed to accelerate recovery. Field observations and
> studies of the physiology of coral bleaching suggest that shading corals
> during a high temperature event can reduce mortality rates. Small areas of
> reef (to 10,000m2 area) could be provided with moderate shading by the use
> of floating covers similar to those used in farm dams and industrial ponds.
> Such covers are light, float upon the water surface and could be rapidly
> deployed from a small boat durin
>  g a high-temperature event. The covers would be held in place with small
> anchors and inflatable seams would provide a flexible, semi-rigid structure
> that would resist small waves and swells at a protected site. High
> temperature bleaching events typically occur during very flat, calm
> conditions over just a few weeks which makes deploying floating covers such
> as this feasible. Real-time monitoring of the development of bleaching
> conditions and small-scale engineering solutions may become increasingly
> important for the preservation of thermally sensitive species at local
> scales.
> I can supply some ideas for a test-scale floating cover on request.
> Dr. Paul Muir
> Research Officer/ Collection Manager Corals, Biodiversity &
> Geosciences?Program
> Museum of Tropical Queensland | Queensland Museum
> 70 - 102 Flinders Street | Townsville | Queensland 4810 | Australia
> t +61 7 47 260 642 | f +61 7 47 212 093 | m +61 407 117 998 |
> www.qm.qld.gov.au

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