What is coral bleaching?

 

Whip Coral Coliny - coral reefs bleahing

One of the most visually dramatic effects of climate change on corals, has been bleaching. When the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and corals become ‘bleached’.

The heat affects the tiny algae which live symbiotically inside the corals and supply them with food. The heat stress damages the algae and in consequence leads to coral death.

Coral reefs bleaching is mainly result of global warming. Global warming could now mean a death sentence for many coral reefs. If the present rate of destruction continues, most of the world’s coral reefs could be killed within our lifetime.

Coral reefs are extremely important for biodiversity, providing home to over 25% of all the marine life. They provide nurseries for many species of commercially important fish, protection of coastal areas from storm, waves, and are a significant attraction for the tourism industry.

Coral reefs around the world have been severely damaged by unusually warm ocean temperatures.

However, coral reefs are very fragile sensitive ecosystems that can only tolerate a narrow temperature range.