Most Of Hawaii’s Coral Recover From Mass Bleaching Event

HONOLULU (AP) — Coral rely on algae for food and their survival.

So when the stress of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures prompted many of Hawaii’s corals to expel algae last year – a phenomenon called bleaching because coral lose their color when they do this – many were worried they might die.

Now the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources says most of the bleached corals have recovered. It plans to announce the result of its coral surveys on Thursday.

Even so, scientists say the experience weakened the coral, making them more likely to get sick. It’s also going to be harder for them to withstand warm temperatures in the future.

The incident is a blow to the state’s fragile reefs, which are already under pressure from runoff from development, overfishing and recreational use of the ocean.

Coral reefs are a critical part of the ecosystem, and their health is vital to the ocean environment. Coral cover just one-tenth of the ocean floor but are home to 25 percent of known marine species. Some fish eat coral, others hide from predators in them. Some species use coral as nursery grounds. Some types of shark will frequent coral reefs.

Mark Eakin, the coordinator the Coral Reef Watch —> Read More Here


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