Coral Reefs do not recover from warming induced bleaching

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Warming set to ‘devastate’ coral

Bleaching in 1998 occurred in all reef regions of the world; 16% of the world’s reefs were lost in that one year, alone. But the western Indian Ocean suffered most because of an interaction between El Nino and another periodic climate phenomenon called the Indian Ocean dipole.

In the seven years since, the damaged reefs have been largely unable to reseed. Many simply collapsed into rubble and became covered in algae.

This collapse removed food and shelter from predators for a large and diverse amount of marine life. The survey showed four fish species could already be locally extinct, and six species are at critically low levels.

The survey also revealed that the diversity of fish species in the heavily impacted sites had plummeted by about 50%.

Well, this is bad news, there has been earlier indication that coral reefs were not necessarily doomed by higher ocean temperatures because this would just cause a shift in the coral species to varieties thriving at higher temperatures/exhibiting adaptive behaviors. Obviously, this did not happen fast enough to regenerate the reef.

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