Coral Reefs Only Continue to Bleach as Water Temperature Rise
As temperatures rise, entire coral reefs continue to bleach, and most will be be extinct 2050.
Some of the biggest coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching very quickly.
Bleaching is a process directly related to rise in temperature. Coral are animals and get their food from algae that live within them. But once the water temperatures heat up, the coral expels the algae, destroying their largest source of food. This leaves them in states in which they do not grow but do not die. The color disappears with the algae and leaves the white skeleton.
Because they do not have a direct line of communication with the deep, warmer waters near the seafloor, they are exposed to warmer waters at a greater distance.
Ocean acidification has also been linked to the destruction of coral reefs worldwide. Coral reefs act as whole ecosystems in which marine life, such as oysters, fish, and crustaceans live. They are vital to many marine organisms that will also go extinct along with the reefs.
“We are investigating whether there is an increase in coral bleaching in the waters off the coast of Australia and the Pacific Islands, and if it’s caused by climate change, we will be looking into other factors that may affect corals,” said senior author of the study Ian Peters.