Unusually high sea temperatures killed two-thirds of coral in central Indian Ocean

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Coral reefs are discoloring worldwide and the fish that normally swim around them can only be admired in small numbers. If we continue along this path, coral reefs will no longer be admirable for future generations.

Catherine Head and colleagues at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) studied reefs in the remote Chagos Archipelago of the British Indian Ocean Territory before and after two ocean heatwaves with unusually high sea temperatures, which came 12 months apart.

Surveying of the seafloor between 2015 and 2017 found that the high sea temperatures led to the loss of 70 per cent of the hard corals. In 2015, seawater temperatures around reefs in the territory were unusually high for nearly eight weeks, and the seafloor surveys before and after the heatwave saw live healthy coral cover fall by 60 per cent.

Back-to-back heatwaves in the central Indian Ocean killed more than two thirds of corals in just two years ZSL/PA Wire Back-to-back heatwaves in the central Indian Ocean killed more than two-thirds of corals in two years. But some corals were more resilient to the high sea temperatures, which could […]

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