Coral reefs near equator less affected by ocean warming

phys.org | 3/20/2019 | Staff
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Ocean warming is threatening coral reefs globally, with persistent thermal stress events degrading coral reefs worldwide, but a new study has found that corals at or near the equator are affected less than corals elsewhere.

The findings from Florida Institute of Technology Ph.D. student Shannon Sully and professor Rob van Woesik, along with colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Reef Check, were published March 20 in the journal Nature Communications.

Work - National - Science - Foundation - Zegar

The work, which was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Zegar Family Foundation, was based on analysis of field observations from a 20-year global survey of over 3,500 coral study sites led by Reef Check founder and former director Gregor Hodgson.

As expected, coral bleaching was most common in localities experiencing high-temperature stress, but it was significantly less common in those places with high monthly variation in temperatures.

Temperatures - Corals - Past - Decade - Years

"We found that it took higher temperatures to bleach corals this past decade than it did 20 years ago," Florida Tech's Shannon Sully said.

The authors suggest that bleaching at higher temperatures this decade is likely a consequence of the decline in temperature-sensitive corals during previous bleaching events and that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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