Indian Ocean corals have fully recovered from a bleaching event 17 years ago. (Credit: Chris Perry)
Unlike many coral reefs across the globe, corals in the Chagos Archipelago, a British Indian Ocean territory south of the Maldives, have managed to fully recover in the 17 years since they suffered a severe bleaching event. The bleaching resulted from unusually high temperatures in 1998, resulting in significant coral stress. According to Phys.org, the corals have been able to recover from the bleaching event of 1998 largely because of the remoteness of their location and the lack of human disturbance.
Researchers analyzed the carbonate budget of 28 of the Chagos Archipelago reefs to determine reef health. The budget is the amount of calcium carbonate reefs produce. The results indicated that the reefs’ health was good, and that the reefs dominated by branch and table coral were especially good.
Branch and table coral are especially sensitive to high temperatures, so a predicted 2016 increase in global sea surface temperatures is a concern. Researchers suggested that, while it may not be possible to avoid the event, global reductions in carbon dioxide may help. Protecting reefs from human interference may also be beneficial.
Top image: Indian Ocean corals have fully recovered from a bleaching event 17 years ago. (Credit: Chris Perry)