Coral Bleaching research paper

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Biology

Document 1

The appearance of the body or coral is whiteness or lightening. However, the host’s natural coloration dominates as either yellow, blue or purple. As Westmacott (2000) suggests, coral bleaching entails a global phenomenon with its severity, scale, frequency always on the increase. Several bleaching got reported from the worlds’ oceans with worst record affecting Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. Major coral bleaching experienced in the south pacific in the year 200 and minor bleaching in the year 1999. The coral reefs harbor numerous species that are of significance to the livelihood of the communities and people in the coast. Harboring of species gets facilitated by the building-up of calcium carbonate skeleton into colonies and then into frameworks with three-dimensional structures. Similarly, the snowy white or pale colors of the coral bleach results from different forces, human-caused, and natural, causing the loss and disintegration of colored zooxanthella from the coral tissues.

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The numbers of these organisms seasonally fluctuate as they adjust to the changing environment. In some areas, bleaching process is a regular phenomenon. High mortality rate results in a rapid change of bleached reefs from a snowy white color to a dull grey-brown appearance since they get fully covered with algae. Severe impacts of bleaching lead to excessive algae growth thus preventing colonization by new corals, altering coral species’ patterns, and causing community restructuring. Causes of Coral Bleaching Stressors cause bleaching, and they include, pollution, abnormal salinity, disease, sedimentation, high turbidity, low light conditions, ultraviolet lights of high levels, and high sea temperatures. In the last decades, most of the coral bleaching cases connect to the elevated sea surface temperatures, and particularly to hotspots.

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A hotspot refers to the region where the sea surface temperatures (SST) exceeds the highest heat per year, the maximum temperature expectation, an average of 10-year duration for a given location. Other aspects of projected climate impact coral reefs, and in some cases, the impact is to a lesser extent. Coral reefs result in the very intense tropical cyclones recognized as the primary source of localized reefs’ physical destruction. Also, changes in regional river flow patterns and rainfall with the likelihood of more severe droughts and extreme rainfall episodes affect the periodic extent of freshwater flow into the reefs. Moreover, coral breaching results into a gradual rise in sea level, therefore, affecting light penetration and the presence of favorable areas for the growth of corals.

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Also, changes in atmospheric chemistry due to excess atmospheric carbon dioxide absorbed by oceans lowers the pH, thus decreasing the ability of marine calcifying organisms to form shells and skeletons. Sea surface temperatures remained above the threshold for approximately five months and areas that survived bleaching episodes in the previous years survived the event whereas the city there were not affected suffered severe effects. In the western Pacific, surface sea temperatures remained above the threshold for approximately five months in some regions. Sections of the barrier reef became breached with coral damage of about 80%. At some parts, while other areas had a mortality rate of 17%. Beaches in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea got affected even though several reefs of central Indonesia survived as a result of the upwelling cooler waters (Oppen et al.

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