Coral reefs head for ‘knock-out punch’

Repeat bouts of warmer seawater are posing a significant challenge to the world's tropical corals.

A study of 100 reefs, published in Science Magazine, shows the interval between bleaching events in recent decades has shortened dramatically.

It has gone from once every 25-30 years in the early 1980s to an average of just once every six years today.

Bleaching is caused by anomalously warm water, which prompts coral polyps to eject their symbiotic algae.

This drains the corals of their colour and is fatal unless conditions are reversed in a reasonably short time.

But even if temperatures fall back quickly, it can still take many years for damaged reefs to fully recover.

"If you go into the ring with a heavyweight boxer, you could probably stand up for one round, but once that second round comes – you're going down," said Dr Mark Eakin from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

"The acceleration in the return rate of bleaching events matches up very well with what the climate models have been telling us – that predict that by mid-century most of the world's coral reefs will be suffering yearly, or near yearly, heat stress," he told BBC News.

One telling observation in the assessment is that as global warming has progressed – the "cold" phases in the famous La Niña-El Niño ocean oscillation have today become warmer than the "hot" phases were three decades ago.

"There basically are no cool years anymore; they are just years that aren't too hot," said Dr Eakin.

Aside from their beauty, tropical corals provide important ecosystem services upon which the livelihoods of many millions of people depend.

Reefs, for example, afford coastal protection from big waves, storms, and floods; they also act as key spawning and nursery grounds for economically important fish and other aquatic species.

This study concentrates on the climate challenge to corals, but many reefs are also experiencing other stresses, including pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction.

Unsurprisingly, the authors, led by Prof Terry Hughes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australia, call for renewed efforts to constrain and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

But it is interesting to note how more radical conservation solutions are now increasingly being discussed.

These touch on topics such as engineered super-corals that are better able to cope in very warm water, and how you might go about artificially cooling a reef at times of high stress.

[email protected] and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

Original Article


Related Articles


  1. I was recommended this website via my cousin. I’m not sure whether or not this submit
    is written by way of him as no one else recognise such targeted about my problem.
    You are wonderful! Thank you!

  2. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone
    during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, excellent blog!

    Look at my blog post 1 lpe88

  3. Wonderful website. A lot of useful information here. I am sending
    it to some buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you to your effort!

    Check out my homepage … playboy2

  4. For most recent news you have to visit world-wide-web
    and on web I found this web page as a most excellent web site for most
    up-to-date updates.

  5. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your post seem to be running off
    the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a
    format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to
    let you know. The design and style look great though!
    Hope you get the issue solved soon. Thanks

    Have a look at my site; 918kiss online game

  6. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you
    get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or
    anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very
    much appreciated.

    my page joker123login (

  7. Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your
    posts! Keep up the great work!

    Here is my page; Apk Joker

  8. Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may
    return yet again since i have saved as a favorite it.

    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and
    continue to help other people.

    Feel free to visit my web page xe88 game

  9. I think everything published made a ton of sense. But, think on this,
    suppose you were to create a awesome post title?
    I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t solid, however what if you added
    something to possibly grab people’s attention? I mean Coral reefs head
    for ‘knock-out punch’ – Current Affairs Online is a little plain. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create article titles to get viewers to open the links.

    You might add a related video or a related
    picture or two to grab readers interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion,
    it would bring your blog a little livelier.

  10. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope
    you write once more soon!

  11. 587055 662792Dude.. My group is not considerably into searching at, but somehow I acquired to read several articles on your blog. Its fantastic how intriguing its for me to go to you fairly often. 515117

  12. 822690 998553Hello, Neat post. Theres an issue together together with your site in internet explorer, may well check this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a huge component to folks will omit your fantastic writing because of this dilemma. 482009

  13. fun88 mayalounge is a straightforward gaming website for anyone to enjoy.
    ทางเข้า ล่าสุด FUN88 PC
    website presents the best VIP loyalty program in the business, including exclusive promotions and
    rewards. Platform features include Thai and English support,
    easy deposit methods, fast withdrawals and fast payouts.
    Use fun88’s latest entrance in 2021 for the best gaming experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button