coralimpacts-headerAnother bleak article highlighting the crucial situation our coral reefs are facing from bleaching and disease. Just last week, scientists announced that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia had been affected by bleaching. This latest finding of coral bleaching hits especially close to home for me, since I live in South Florida. Just in the past couple of months, coral reefs in South Florida are having an unprecedented die-off like never has been seen before. For example, reefs off the coast of Hollywood, Florida, as of September of 2015, had live coral tissue covering 90 percent of the reef. As of December of 2015, just three months later, the reef was almost completely dead. Scientists have found widespread disease in Broward and Miami Dade County in just a few months time. “We saw a variety of diseases across the different corals,” Brian Walker, a Nova Southeastern University research scientist said. “Some of the disease was recently active and had killed off a significant portion of the colony. It’s wiped out entire species from parts of the reef. They’re usually bleached white. You can see areas of just bare skeleton.” Corals from Key Biscayne to Fort Lauderdale were surveyed and it was found that about 2/3 of the corals were dead or reduced to half of their coral tissue. Scientists believe the widespread bleaching and disease is a combination of global warming, El Nino and local stresses affecting the area. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global bleaching is likely to last into 2017. Bleaching peaks from August to October, so scientists expect this year to continue this devastating trend. MORE

Follow Us!
Get the latest reef aquarium news in your email.