The world’s ecosystem continues to be affected nowadays as coral bleaching has become one of the major issues concerning scientists.
Coral reefs are one of the key components of the oceanic environment as they are home to countless species of fish and other sea creatures.
Plus, they host significant resources of food for many marine animals. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that coral bleaching event will not stop this year, and it is most likely to continue in 2017 as well.
According to the members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch Agency (NOAA), the data collected from the computer model forecasts showed that the bleaching is far from being over.
Worse, this devastating event will hit many water areas including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific, Guam, Hawaii, the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
This will have a devastating effect on the ecosystem, and it will most likely affect all species of fish and marine animals. Furthermore, the statistics have shown that there is a 90 percent risk that the coral bleaching will affect other areas around various Pacific Islands, including Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Scientists have not established yet what is the leading cause of this event, but they suspect that it might be related to La Niña because it warms the ocean waters. El Niño was previously associated with two other coral-bleaching events.
Unfortunately, the present bleaching started before El Niño and continued long after this event ended. Another theory is that human-caused climate change is to blame for the warming waters of the oceans.
According to Mark Eakin, Coral Reef Watch Coordinator, every United States coral reef situated along the northern hemisphere is highly vulnerable to this year’s coral bleaching event.
In addition to this, experts underline that if the event occurs in Florida and Hawaii as well, it will be the third year in a row when the United States are affected by the coral bleaching. After analyzing the possible consequences, scientists reached the conclusion that entire marine ecosystems might be destroyed in the bleaching areas.
Because of pollution and higher water temperatures, coral bleaching event develops, causing coral reefs to expel algae which are part of their tissue. These algae are crucial for corals because they give them the beautiful colors and vital nutrients.
Image Source:New Scientist