Researchers this week have been discussing how to predict and monitor coral bleaching events in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Corals appear white or “bleached” when the ocean becomes too hot and they expel the algae they rely on to survive. Corals may recover if the algae returns, but they’re still significantly weaker and more vulnerable to disease.
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Deputy Superintendent Randy Kosaki said Thursday this week’s discussions by scientists, managers and cultural experts will help managers decide how to best support the island chain in the face of climate change.
Some corals in the monument bleached last summer as ocean temperatures rose to higher-than-normal levels for a couple of weeks. But the monument was spared large-scale mass bleachings like those recorded in Southeast Asia last year.