Navigation Links
Smithsonian reports regional sea temperature rise and coral bleaching event in Western Caribbean
Date:10/12/2010

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Bocas del Toro Research Station and Galeta Point Marine Laboratory are reporting an anomalous sea temperature rise and a major coral bleaching event in the western Caribbean. Although the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, issued an advisory in July announcing above-average sea surface temperatures in the wider Caribbean region, there had been no clear indication of increased sea temperatures in Panama and the western Caribbean until late August-early September.

Scientists and local dive operators first noticed coral bleaching in the waters surrounding Isla Colon in Panama's Bocas del Toro province in July. Smithsonian staff scientist Nancy Knowlton and colleagues documented an extensive bleaching event in late September. Station personnel recorded an extreme sea water temperature of 32 degrees C. Normal temperatures at this time of year are closer to 28 degrees C. This warming event currently affects the entire Caribbean coast of Panama from Kuna-Yala to Bocas del Toro and has also been reported at sites in Costa Rica.

An extensive coral reef monitoring network in Panama, established over a decade ago by staff scientist Hctor M. Guzmn of STRI and partially funded by the Nature Conservancy, consists of 33 sites along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Isthmus, with 11 sites in the Bocas del Toro area. As of Oct. 3, 95 percent of the seafloor at the Bocas del Toro sites had been checked for bleaching. Coral mortality was limited to shallow areas near Isla Colon and a semi-lagoon area in Bocas del Toro, which is considered to be particularly vulnerable to bleaching as water circulation there is slow and temperatures tend to rise quickly. Researchers expect to have a complete report of the state of the coral reefs in several weeks.

Coral polyps, the tiny organisms that make up a coral reef, contain photosynthetic algae called zoxanthellae. Coral bleaching occurs when corals lose their color as a result of the loss of their algal component, which is caused by increased water temperature or other stress factors. Bleaching impairs vital functions of the coral such as reproduction and growth.

With prolonged warming, corals begin to die releasing great quantities of mucous resulting in increasingly turbid waters. Oxygen levels may fall as bacteria and fungi proliferate. Anoxic conditions affect fish and coastal productivity. STRI has monitored the water column to a depth of 20 meters at 23 sites. "Dissolved oxygen dropped to less than 3 milligrams per liter at 10 meters and nearly zero milligrams per liter at the bottom," said STRI technician Plinio Gondola, who recorded the measurements. It is still not clear if temperature rise is directly related to bleaching and anoxia at this site.

The images show ocean temperatures in September 2009 and in 2010. Increasing intensity of orange towards red indicates warming on a regional scale. The final outcome of this event is uncertain. A similar event in 2005 in the wider Caribbean included intense bleaching in Panama. However, mortality was less that 12 percent in this zone and reefs have been relatively resilient. In Guzman's opinion, hurricane season may be enhancing the current problem, resulting in low water circulation in the Southwestern Caribbean and thus creating a "warm pocket" of water along the coasts of Panama and Costa Rica.


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
703-487-3770 x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Smithsonian researchers find differences between Galapagos and mainland frigatebirds
2. Smithsonian scientists help create first frozen repository for Hawaiian coral
3. Smithsonian hosts 2010 International CAM Workshop in Panama
4. Stress and trade-offs explain lifes diversity: New Smithsonian model
5. Smithsonian scientists find the frog legs trade may facilitate spread of pathogens
6. First jaguar photo taken at Smithsonian Research Station in Panama
7. Smithsonian scientist warns that palm oil development may threaten Amazon
8. Smithsonian scientists receive coveted BBVA Ecology and Conservation Award
9. New movement models tested at the Smithsonian in Panama
10. Smithsonian puts tropical eastern Pacific shore fishes online
11. Smithsonian puts tropical Eastern-Pacific shore fishes online
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Smithsonian reports regional sea temperature rise and coral bleaching event in Western Caribbean
(Date:3/24/2017)... March 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for ... Continue Reading ... ... Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Optimove , provider ... retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced ... and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these ... and replenishment recommendations to their customers based not ... of customer intent drawn from a complex web ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... March 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face Matching ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each ... to identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... Ecovia Renewables, ... Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the ... develop a suite of BioGel™ biopolymer materials for hygiene applications, particularly for use ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... PLAINFIELD, N.J. and WASHINGTON ... global genomics service provider, GENEWIZ, will launch single-cell sequencing during ... at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in ... RNA-Seq allows researchers to perform differential gene expression of ... Highlights: Experts ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... SAN DIEGO , March 28, 2017  Viking ... focused on the development of novel therapies for metabolic ... officer, Brian Lian , Ph.D., will deliver a ... Annual NASH Investor Conference, being held April 3, ... Details for this presentation are as ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... WA (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... to announce the initial release of LabKey’s newest software solution, LabKey Biologics ... council of leading pharma and biotech organizations, LabKey Biologics provides drug research teams ...
Breaking Biology Technology: