Coral Bleaching in Space and Time

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 205)


Large-scale coral bleaching was recorded as early as 1931, but severe bleaching on a regional or global scale was not documented until 1983. We use records from a global database of bleaching records to show that severe bleaching events occurred at a global level on four recent occasions and demonstrate that these events occurred in close temporal proximity to a strong negative deviation in the Southern Oscillation Index. While there was no clear increase in the frequency or intensity of major global bleaching events, the number of bleaching records clearly increased during the past three decades. However, increased vigilance and reporting of mild bleaching by an ever-increasing number of researchers and conservation-minded divers has confounded efforts to definitively separate changes in bleaching frequency from changes in reporting.


Coral Reef Great Barrier Reef Southern Oscillation Index Coral Bleaching Bleaching Event 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The WorldFish CenterPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3Townsville MCAustralia
  3. 3.NOAA Coral Reef WatchSilver SpringUSA

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