From Stinapa : Bonaire went from a NOAA coral bleaching alert level 2 to a more positive coral bleaching watch last week, meaning that there is a distinct possibility that the many bleached and pale corals we’ve been seeing lately will slowly ‘rebrown’. Due to unusually warm water temperatures beginning in late August as a result of global warming, many of Bonaire’s corals were stressed and began to pale and even bleach (when their pigmented symbiotic algae are forced to leave). In the past few weeks, water temperatures have returned to ‘almost’ normal for this time of the year and the predictions for the next few weeks are hopeful. Coral bleaching is very stressful for corals and may have long-lasting negative effects, including lower rates of reproduction and a higher susceptibility to disease .
However, slow recovery is better than death, which is what sometimes happens to vast areas of coral reefs when the water temperature is too high for too long (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffered a huge bleaching event last year, decimating the once famous coral reef colonies). For more information on sea surface temperatures and NOAA’s coral reef watch program and predictions, visit coralreefwatch.noaa.gov.