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article imageBleaching Events Killing Soft Coral

By Bob Ewing     Jul 14, 2007 in Environment
Bleaching events are increasing in areas such as the Indo-Pacific Ocean and this is because the water temperature is rising. the increase in bleaching events is causing soft corals to die.
Global climate change may be contributing to the increase of bleaching events which are responsible for the melting of soft corals in tropical waters. The soft corals have no stony outer skeletons unlike their relatives the hard corals.
This means that soft corals are very sensitive to environmental stresses.
A marine biologist, Hudi Benayahu who is the head of the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University has observed the sites previously says that … after bleaching in Okinawa, Japan, and it was remarkable to see a massive disappearance of soft corals, You can't imagine this was the same site. Just two years passed and the entire area was deserted, lifeless."
Benayahu conducts much of his research in the Indo-pacific Ocean where soft corals are common. The cataloguing of the soft corals of the world is an ongoing process and there are many species that are not yet known.
According to Benayahu and other experts, if the bleaching continues to grow in intensity then soft coral species may vanish before we even discover them.
Small changes in the water temperature damage the mutually beneficial relationship between coral and algae. Both hard and soft coral are affected by coral bleaching for roughly similar causes.
This damage causes stress and this results in the algae abandoning the mutually beneficial relationship and the corals eventually die after they have left on their own.
More about Soft coral, Melt, Warming oceans
 
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