Image: Recovering reef, Seychelles
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, January 15, 2015

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies examining the impact of climate change on coral reefs have found a way to predict which reefs are likely to recover following bleaching episodes and which won’t. Coral bleaching is the most immediate threat to reefs from climate change—it’s caused when ocean temperatures become warmer than normal maximum summer temperatures, and can lead to widespread coral death. A key unanswered question has been what dictates whether reefs can bounce back after such events, or if they become permanently degraded. An international team of scientists led by the Centre found that five factors could predict if a reef was likely to recover after a bleaching event. “Water depth, the physical structure of the reef before disturbance, nutrient levels, the amount of grazing by fish and survival of juvenile corals could help predict reef recovery,” said Dr Nicholas Graham.

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Photo credit: 

Image courtesy: Dr Nicholas Graham, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.