Friday, August 7, 2009

Coral Bleaching Likely In Caribbean.Adapted from materials provided by National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration.

ScienceDaily (July 27, 2009) — Scientists from NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program say conditions are favorable for significant coral bleaching and infectious coral disease outbreaks in the Caribbean, especially in the Lesser Antilles. The forecast is based on the July NOAA Coral Reef Watch outlook, which expects continued high water temperatures through October 2009.

Scientists are concerned that bleaching may reach the same levels or exceed those recorded in 2005, the worst coral bleaching and disease year in Caribbean history. In parts of the eastern Caribbean, as much as 90 percent of corals bleached and over half of those died during that event."
“Just like any climate forecast, local conditions and weather events can influence actual temperatures. However, we are quite concerned that high temperatures may threaten the health of coral reefs in the Caribbean this year,” said C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D., coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch.
Prolonged coral bleaching of more than a week can lead to coral death and the subsequent loss of coral reef habitats for a range of marine life. It also affects local economies and tourism.
“By providing local officials with advance warning that a bleaching event is about to occur, some steps can be taken to protect the corals,” said Eakin.

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