|Date||14 Apr 2003|
Coral bleaching is defined as the loss of algal symbionts and their pigments which causes corals to appear pale or white. The widespread coral bleaching and subsequent declines in coral reef health that have occurred over the past 25 years provide ample evidence that these ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to environmental disturbances. With global warming in mind and the fact that over 70% of reported bleaching events have coincided with unusually high temperatures, the future of coral reefs worldwide has become not only the concern of scientists and managers but also that of fishermen, investors and governments who have come to realise the economic loss that would follow.
This project will explore seasonal shifts in the biology of these complex symbiotic organisms. Over two years, it will monitor the physiological state of three Red Sea coral species using three complimentary approaches: photography, calculation of biomass parameters and PAM fluorometry. By following the seasonal changes in coral physiology the team hopes to identify the onset of bleaching, not just the after-effects.
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