Reefs at Risk Activity & Coloring Book

Our Reefs at Risk Activity and Coloring Book teaches children about the wonders of coral reefs through fun and educational activities. The book takes students on a learning adventure through interactive activities, thought-provoking questions, and captivating coloring pages. It raises …

Coral Bleaching

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Coral reef bleaching has been in the headline news this past summer, as it was the hottest three-month period on record. As ocean temperatures soared to 32°C (90°F) around the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, coral reefs were way past their temperature threshold and started to bleach. But what happens when a coral bleaches?

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon that occurs when coral polyps expel the symbiotic (mutually beneficial) algae called zooxanthellae from their tissues, causing the corals to lose their color and turn white or pale. These algae provide the corals with essential nutrients through photosynthesis and contribute to their vibrant colors. When coral polyps expel the zooxanthellae, it not only leads to the loss of color but also affects the overall health and survival of the coral reefs…

Watching coral reefs die in a warming ocean

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The Chagos Archipelago is one of the most remote, seemingly idyllic places on Earth. Coconut-covered sandy beaches with incredible bird life rim tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from any continent. Just below the waves, coral reefs stretch for miles along an underwater mountain chain.

It’s a paradise. At least it was before the heat wave.

Coral Bleaching: A Shift in Perspective

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As a marine ecologist, being able to survey the reefs of the Chagos Archipelago, considered the last frontier of coral reefs, was a very exciting prospect. After many hours flying, and even more on the ship transiting to our first destination, we finally arrived in the British Indian Ocean Territory Marine Protected Area where the Chagos reefs are found. From our first dive, I knew this would be a trip to remember. Prior to this, I had participated on many of the GRE expeditions, but this one felt different. I was awestruck by the beautiful reefs with large, healthy assemblages of corals and incredible fish communities. We came across unique reefs with monospecific stands of corals unlike seen in other parts of the world. The benthic communities appeared to be thriving with a balance of coral, CCA, other algae that supported the flourishing invertebrate and fish populations.

However, later in our trip, things started to change right before our eyes. We later discovered we were the first to observe what would be one of the most catastrophic global bleaching events on record. The water was exceptionally warm, causing the beautiful coral we had been observing to show signs of stress.

Coral Reefs: Trouble in Paradise

  Coral Reefs: Trouble in Paradise tells the story of an international scientific team in the Chagos Archipelago, a tropical paradise in the British Indian Ocean Territory with some of the healthiest coral reefs on the planet. Initially, the scientists …

Hogsty’s New Reef Recruits: Coral Bleaching Recovery

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In 1997-1998, the marine equivalent of a massive and destructive forest fire overwhelmed numerous coral reefs around the world.  Caribbean coral biologists still speak of the coral bleaching event of 1998 in reverential tones.  A powerful El Niño season was …