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


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


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


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

joan silaco
joan silacoabout a year ago


Paulo Reeson
Paulo Rabout a year ago

humans are a nuisance, ty

Olga Troyan
Olga Troyanabout a year ago

I wish I could help.

Margie FOURIEabout a year ago

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

Carol S
Carol Sabout a year ago

Mankind the earths killer :(

Mike H
Mike Habout a year ago

Humans are the earths poison

Richard A
Richard Aabout a year ago

Thank you for this article.

ellie d
Ellie Mabout a year ago


Fran away F
Fran Fabout a year ago

How do climate crisis deniers explain coral bleaching?