Aldabra’s coral reefs

#GS1 #Gography #GS3 #Environment #ClimateChange

 

Climate change is the greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems. Ocean warming and associated coral bleaching are one of the foremost causes of coral loss across the world.

  • Record-breaking high ocean temperatures, which occurred between 2014 and 2017, resulted in a prolonged and widespread coral bleaching, with the hottest temperature recorded (36.3 degrees Celsius) in early April 2016.
  • Coral reefs in the lagoon of Seychelles’ Aldabra atoll, however, recovered faster after the 2015-2016 bleaching event due to tolerance to heat stress, new research found published in Nature has found.

 

What is Bleaching

  • Bleaching is a process where corals lose their vivid color and turn white. This happens when the zooxanthellae algae, which is in a symbiotic relationship with corals and provide them with food, die due to ocean warming and acidification.
  • If bleaching continues for an extended period of time, corals eventually die. Coral bleaching and mortality exacerbated by climate change are one of the biggest threats to oceanic biodiversity. 
  • With severe bleaching events expected to occur annually on 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs by 2055, such research and long-term commitment to monitoring these valuable ecosystems are critical.

 

About Aldabra Coral Reefs

  • Aldabra — one of the world’s largest atolls — is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site in Seychelles and located in the Indian Ocean.
  • It comprises four main islands of coral limestone separated by narrow sea passages and encloses a large shallow lagoon. 
  • It is home to a population of endemic giant Aldabra tortoises, which fluctuate to around 100,000 more than the 95,000 population of Seychelles.
  • Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) that manages Aldabra, said coral mortality was not only substantially lower in Aldabra’s lagoon, but that lagoonal reefs also recovered their pre-bleaching coral cover and community composition within only four years after bleaching.
  • The SIF is a public trust established by the government with an independent Board of Trustees.
  • Through the annual Aldabra reef monitoring program, which started in 2013, SIF is in a position to supply the science of global significance to contribute to the world’s adaptation to new climate reality.
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