‘Wonderful to look at, but truly depressing to understand’
BBC World Service
March 4, 2021
BBC News interviews KSLOF’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Sam Purkis, about what it was like to watch coral reefs bleaching in the Chagos Archipelago
The Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean are one of the most remotes archipelagos in the world.
Until recently, the lack of human intervention there has helped their precious reefs survive environmental pressures. But research now shows that climate change and warming waters could be creating a crisis there as well.
Concern has been raised by scientists who have seen the coral start to turn florescent and psychedelic – a beautiful sight, but also a sign that the coral is becoming stressed and expelling its algae, something it does before a bleaching event.
Sam Purkis of the University of Miami led the expedition for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.
“The message is quite simple,” he says. “Reefs die just as swiftly and dramatically in remote areas as they do in areas which are inflicted more heavily by humans.”