Researchers use novel approach to assess temperature stress on deep coral reefs.
Coral reefs around the world are threatened by warming ocean temperatures, a major driver of coral bleaching. Scientists routinely use sea-surface temperature data collected by satellites to predict the temperature-driven stress on reef communities, but new research shows that surface measurements alone may not accurately predict the full extent of thermal stress on deeper corals.
A new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) in Palau describes a novel approach for predicting warm temperature-induced stress on corals from the sea surface through a deeper expanse ranging from 30-150 meters (100-500 feet) known as the mesophotic zone.
Corals at this depth are thought of by some in the science community as being safer from ocean warming than their shallow-water counterparts. But the Scripps Oceanography team found that even in the deep, corals are episodically exposed to thermal stress at intervals different than those corals near the surface.
Continue reading at Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Image via Pat Colin, Coral Reef Research Foundation