4 Shocking Before-and-After Images of Coral Bleaching

Across the world’s oceans, corals are dying.

As the National Ocean Service notes, these rich ecosystems have been declining at higher rates over the last two decades. Coral bleaching lost the United States half of its Caribbean coral reefs in just a year, for instance.

Corals undergo bleaching as oceans warm, partly due to human-exacerbated climate change and El Niño

Photo Credit: NOAA

Photo Credit: NOAA

Here are a few coral bleaching images that show precisely why we need to ramp up marine conservation efforts.

1. American Samoa

fig3_american-samoa_before-during-after_2015

Photo Credit: © The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Richard Vevers

In 2015, El Niño led to a mass bleaching in American Samoa. Water levels were lower and warmer over the Samoan Reefs, exposing them to more sunlight and air.

As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes:

The Samoan language has its own word for an El Niño bleaching event in which sea levels are low enough to expose corals to air: taisama refers to the stench of dying reefs that accompanies these events. The word may be uttered more often as climate change makes coral bleaching events increasingly common.

2. Keppel Islands

798px-Keppelbleaching

Photo Credit: Acropora

This year is the second in a row to show severe bleaching in the Great Barrier Reefs, and the effects are pronounced near the Keppel Islands.

Take note of the bleached branching coral in the foreground of this shot, as compared to the normal branching coral in the background. 

3. Brisbane, Australia (lab)

Queensland University of Technology scientists caught the coral bleaching process on film when they reenacted the process in a lab.

As National Geographic notes, you can see the coral “ejecting its resident population of algae,” which temporarily helps the coral survive, but can kill it in the long term.

4. Bali Barat National Park

Coral Reef Ecology and SCUBA Diving posted this video to show how the coral reefs, especially around Bali’s island of Menjangan, changed in just a year.

“Several factors contributed to the widespread bleaching including a freak July storm followed by a crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak,” says Reef Builders.

From coral bleaching to water pollution, humans have an immeasurable effect on the world’s water. For resources on taking responsibility for coral health, check out these tips from the Nature Conservancy.

Photo Credit: Oregon State University/Flickr

264 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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joan silaco
joan s7 months ago

TYFS

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R8 months ago

humans are a nuisance, ty

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Olga Troyan
Olga Troyan8 months ago

I wish I could help.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE8 months ago

Do these people sleep at night. They are killing the planet.

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Carol S
Carol S8 months ago

Mankind the earths killer :(

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Mike H
Mike H8 months ago

Humans are the earths poison

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Richard A
Richard A8 months ago

Thank you for this article.

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ellie d
Ellie M8 months ago

thanks

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Fran away F
Fran F8 months ago

How do climate crisis deniers explain coral bleaching?

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