Almost four years after the worst coral bleaching event ever recorded in Hawaii the state’s coral reefs are finally showing signs of growth and stabilisation.
Ocean water temperatures around Hawaii’s popular Big Island island skyrocketed in 2015, resulting in 60% of corals in the area experiencing bleaching. Some areas were so badly affected they experienced in excess of 90 percent mortality and many experts were concerned the reefs might never recover.
Over the last three years, surveys were conducted by The Nature Conservancy on over 14,000 coral at 20 sites along the West Hawaiian coastline in order to document the bleaching and determine how and why some areas were more resilient than others.
The scientists were thrilled to see that many of the area’s reefs had begun to stabilize during 2018, especially those with limited shoreline access and human exposure. These results could hold insights into how to encourage reef recovery in other areas affected by coral bleaching, such as the Great Barrier Reef.
“Interestingly, the number of stressors affecting an area, not the severity of a single one, was the most important factor,” Kim Hum, TNC’s marine program director, told West Hawaii Today.
“Reefs that are fighting the impacts of several stressors are more susceptible to temperature stress, making them more likely to bleach and less able to recover if they do.”
- For information on the health of the Great Barrier Reef and why this Australian natural heritage icon is under threat, visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
- To keep up to date with the latest in climate change science follow the Climate Council, Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation.
Subscribe to Positive Environment News
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.