Negative Effects Of Coral Bleaching

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Coral bleaching can be caused when coral is stressed by many things including pollution, overexposure to sunlight and extreme low tides however, it primarily occurs when corals are stressed due to unusually high sea temperatures (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015). Unusually high temperatures cause coral 's colourful, symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) to separate from the coral leaving it to appear white (De 'ath, Fabricius, Sweatman & Puotinen, 2012; Baker, Glynn & Riegl, 2008). Coral bleaching is not isolated to one select reef, but rather many reefs all around the world. Mass coral bleaching has become more widespread and frequent over the recent decades, often resulting in high mortality rates (Pandolfi, Connolly, Marshall…show more content…
One argument is that many different things are contributing to the destruction of coral rather than climate change including overfishing, marine pollution and cyclones/hurricanes (World Climate Report, 2010). Although this may be true, the main causes of coral reef destruction still relates back to global warming. From 1985 to 2012, coral populations in the Great Barrier Reef have decreased by 50.7 per cent, with 48 per cent due to tropical cyclones, 42 per cent because of crown of thorns starfish (COTS) and 10 per cent directly due to bleaching (De 'ath et al., 2012). It has been indicated that due to global warming, there has been an increase in the number of tropical cyclones (Knutson et al., 2010). However, it has also been found that there is a possibility of cyclones actually mitigating coral bleaching (Baker et al., 2008; Schultz, 2012). With even just a 2°C increase in temperature the probability of COTS survival escalates by 240 per cent under certain conditions (Australian Institute of Marine Science, 2015). However, repeated bleaching events result in higher mortality rates. The Caribbean has been experiences continuous declines of reef sites due to repeated bleaching events (Baker et al., 2008). There is no doubt that oceans surrounding Australia have drastically warmed since 1910 (Bureau of Meteorology, 2014), and this warming affects the…show more content…
Due to global warming, the frequency of coral bleaching is predicted to continue to increase (Baker et al., 2008; Spillman et al., 2013) Numerous reefs across the world experience coral bleaching rather than just one reef. Coral bleaching can have a devastating effect on a region 's tourism industry and can cause not only coral mortality, but the death of other animals that rely on coral to survive. Higher ocean temperatures not only result in more frequent coral bleaching, but can increase other threats to the survival of coral. Furthermore, repeated bleaching increases the chance of fatal bleaching events (Baker et al., 2008). Moreover, despite coral surviving higher sea temperatures in the past, there are many other factors contributing to coral bleaching. Coral recovery depends on how often bleaching events occur and global warming increases this and worsens conditions for reproduction which is essential to survival. Coral bleaching due to global warming is more concerning than many people
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