Hawaii’s most popular coral reefs are in big trouble
On October 8, 2015, the Cubs have advanced to the national division final for the first time since 2003; South Carolina, still drowning after the historic flood has surpassed the state with more than 16.6 inches of water in less than a day, relied for even more rain; And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of that third global coral bleaching event, citing global ocean temperatures warmer than usual. This event, according to a study published this week in the peerj newspaper, reefs all over Hawaii’s number one tourist destination Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve devastated. Researchers found that 47% of the largest and most extensive dive paradise in the reefs of blinded areas. A little less than 10 percent of the corals in Hanauma Bay are dead.
Corals are animals often mistaken for minerals, because of their skeletons, the structure of the rock and its still likely to slow down growth. And somewhat confused, these creatures greet vegetables. The symbiotic algae that live inside the corals, giving them their colorful cast and availability for the removal of rust and the waste they need.
But when corals are exposed to too hot or otherwise toxic water, they expel the symbiotic algae, which leads to a white colouration known as bleaching. Bleaching does not make it less attractive for coral, which makes them more susceptible to death and disease. Severe bleaching can kill and destroy coral reefs (reef are essentially individual coral colonies) leaving behind a bleached bone cemetery. Although coral reefs constitute less than one percent of the marine environment, they are home to 25 percent of marine life.
Global whitening events such as those investigators claim to have injured Hanauma Bay are very rare: the first documented occurred in 1998, the second in 2010, and climate change is considered the prime mover. The damage is not only limited to Hawaii, either: after two years of whitening back-to-back in 2016 and in 2017, 50% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, bleached.
“There were no major whitening events known to science until 1983,” says study author Ku’ulei Rodgers, a researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii. Before the whitening events were local and not regional, it did not reflect the whole. Rodgers joined the study of Paul Jokiel, who created the first general monitoring of the coral reef program in Hawaii, but died in 2016. “In Hawaii, we had a whitening event in 1996 and the corals recovered,” said M. Rodgers. “Unlike many places in the world, we did very well until 2014.”
But the bleached reefs in 2014, and again in 2015.
“What we wanted to see [in this study] is that the differences are in one place and between sites,” Rodgers said. “In the Bay of Hanauma, we wanted to characterize the different currents and see if whitening and mortality were different in different areas.” Some sectors have seen a lot of human traffic by swimmers and divers, but distant quadrants were generally intact which did they help survive?
To understand how the warming affected the reef around Hanauma Bay, the researchers divided the bay into four quadrants and recorded the water temperatures every fifteen minutes from June 2015 to January 2016. Water models also followed the models Which circulates to better understand how ocean currents were involved in money laundering.
“We have found that human pressures have not played a role in money laundering,” Rodgers said. “Bleaching was in these two areas.”