Coral Reefs Fight Back; Results from a Recent Study Show There Is Hope for the World's Coral Reefs. (Exploration & Discovery)

Article excerpt

Over the last three decades, coral reefs around the world have suffered extensive bleaching. Western Indian Ocean reefs were particularly severely affected in 1997/98 after an unprecedented ocean warming event. On parts of the Seychelles Bank live coral cover was reduced to less than ten per cent.

Annelise Hagan from the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit at Cambridge University has recently returned from eight weeks of fieldwork at Alphonse Atoll, a small coral island in the outer Seychelles. This visit, which was supported by a British Airways Travel Bursary, was the first of three surveys to he conducted over a two-year period to assess reef recovery in the immediate post-bleaching phase. Data was collected at a range of water depths around the atoll, and temperature loggers were placed at four sites, two in the lagoon and two on the outer reef, to record half-hourly water temperatures. Video analysis is currently being conducted to derive `percentage cover' values for sand, rubble, bare substrate, coral and macro algae. …


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