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Mass Bleaching
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

Causes
Why does mass bleaching occur?

Local factors like pollutants from river inputs and exposure to freshwater runoff can contribute to localized bleaching of corals. However, higher than normal water temperatures is the most common stress that leads to mass coral bleaching. Global climate change has important implications for coral reef ecosystems because sea temperatures are predicted to rise by 0.6° C to 2.4° C during the 21st century. The global bleaching event in 1998, followed by another major bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef in 2002, has raised awareness and concern about the possible impacts of global warming on the capacity of coral reefs to survive over the next 50-100 years (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999).

Are mass bleaching impacts related to other issues that affect coral reefs?

Yes, mass bleaching is often linked to other issues that affect the health of local coral reefs. To better understand how mass bleaching is related to, but different from, other issues, refer to this Flowchart Diagram
Bleached Goniopora. Location: Pohnpei, Ant Atoll, Micronesia Photo by: J. Hoogesteger (from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)

For more information about the issues that are related to Mass Bleaching, click on the following links:


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