Some of Palawan’s reefs are sad reflections of warming ocean temperatures. White skeletons are all that remain of previously colorful and varied coral reefs around the island. The phenomena is known as ‘coral bleaching’, caused by too warm of ocean temperatures.
Scientists cited in the article below hold out hope for these damaged reefs. Apparently, some corals can adapt to warming temperatures, and even thrive in them. Studies are being done in Kiribati, an island in the South Pacific, very close to the equator, where ocean temperatures are the hottest. An international team of scientists, including lead researchers from Canada and Australia published an article on March 30, in the journal PLoS ONE,
Click on the link below to read the article from ScienceDaily.com:
Excerpt from article says, the study:
. . . paves the way towards an important road map on the impacts of ocean warming, and will help scientists identify the habitats and locations where coral reefs are more likely to adapt to climate change.
“We’re starting to identify the types of reef environments where corals are more likely to persist in the future,” says study co-author Simon Donner, an assistant professor in UBC’s Department of Geography and organizer of the field expedition. “The new data is critical for predicting the future for coral reefs, and for planning how society will cope in that future.”
When water temperatures get too hot, the tiny algae that provides coral with its colour and major food source is expelled. This phenomenon, called coral bleaching, can lead to the death of corals. The researchers say coral reefs may be better able to withstand the expected rise in temperature in locations where heat stress is naturally more common. This will benefit the millions of people worldwide who rely on coral reefs for sustenance and livelihoods, they say.
“Until recently, it was widely assumed that coral would bleach and die off worldwide as the oceans warm due to climate change,” says lead author Jessica Carilli, a post-doctoral fellow in Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Institute for Environmental Research. “This would have very serious consequences, as loss of live coral — already observed in parts of the world — directly reduces fish habitats and the shoreline protection reefs provide from storms.”
This is very good news for Palawan. DonnaOnPalawan wishes these scientists and their studies continuing success. My novel’s plot revolves around Palawan’s coral reefs and fish life, as I am very concerned about this issue.
Palawan’s coral reefs are a precious resource. We hope the damage will be halted, and the reefs will thrive on into the future.