Coral Reefs in the Turks and Caicos Islands Withstood the Massive Coral Bleaching Events

A study that asked citizens to offer valuable data about the health of the corals located on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean over six years has provided some exciting results. It appears that more than 35 essential coral species were resilient against the massive global bleaching events that took place between 2014 and 2017.

Corals that were damaged by the phenomena recovered at an accelerated pace and some of them seemed to be more healthy in 2017 in comparison to 2014. According to one of the researchers who contributed to the study, boulder-type corals did not appear to be affected by the thermal stress, which reached a record value in 2015.

Some damage was observed in the case of plate-type corals. Still, their regeneration ability was quite impressive, and pigmentation levels were within normal levels in a few months after they endured thermic stress.

About Coral Bleaching Events

It is well-known that coral bleaching appears in the aftermath of exposure to high heat stress. In the wake of global warming, the oceans continue to become warmer, and coral bleaching events take place more often. The mass bleaching events which took place between 2014 and 2017 were caused by the fact that in some areas, the water becomes so warm that the corals died. It is estimated that thousands of reefs have been rendered barren.

The spectacular pigmentation of orals is produced by a photosynthetic alga which offers valuable nutrients to the reefs. It is a relationship of co-dependence as the algae will colonize the reefs and consume some of the byproducts made by corals to survive.

When the temperature of the water becomes too high, the algae will be expelled. Corals that are exposed to warm water for an extended period will die, leaving behind a grim skeleton. The study has been published in a scientific journal.

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