Coral Bleaching Response Index Helps Conservationists, Scientists

By on May 25, 2016

Partially bleached coral in Kaneohe, Hawaii. (Credit: Dan Dennison / Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)


The world is experiencing one of the longest global coral bleaching events ever recorded, according to a release from Northwestern University. That is making it a bit difficult for experts to keep up with all the changes that are happening.

To help, researchers at the university have worked to create a coral bleaching response index. The tool can be used to compare the bleaching of corals throughout the world and predict which corals could be most affected by bleaching in the future.

The index is based on a large amount of historical data and uses measures of vulnerability, separated by coral species, to changes in stress. It identifies the species that are most vulnerable to bleaching as well as those that are a bit tougher against it using a scale from 1 to 100. Those most susceptible come in at No. 1.

Developers of the index hope it can be useful to conservationists and park managers committed to preserving coral reefs and scientists interested in learning more about the issue of bleaching.

Top image: Partially bleached coral in Kaneohe, Hawaii. (Credit: Dan Dennison / Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

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