Corals Show New Spate of Bleaching

Article excerpt

SINGAPORE (dpa) - Marine experts are sounding the alarm after underwater surveys revealed widespread bleaching of the world's coral reefs.Twelve years after the severe global bleaching of 1998, corals are once again showing signs of stress from rising water temperatures. Experts fear that 2010 may be another very bad year for the world's reefs.Up to 90 percent of Thailand's corals are bleaching, experts said, while significant paling is affecting reefs off Indonesia's island of Sumatra and in the Caribbean. Scientists blame the rise in water temperature for the bleaching. It does not kill the coral directly, but does leave it vulnerable to disease and unable to reproduce, which often leads to its death.Corals have a symbiotic relationship with algae, said Clive Wilkinson of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre in Townsville, on Australia's north-eastern coast, not far from the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef.''They take the algae virtually prisoner, so the algae have to produce sugar for the corals,'' he explained. …