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CoralReefWatch's Mark Eakin Interviewed
on Coral Bleaching By Scientific American

CoralReefWatch's Mark Eakin Interviewed on Coral Bleaching By Scientific American

26 January 2015 - NOAA Coral Reef Watch's (CRW) Coordinator, Dr. C. Mark Eakin was interviewed by Scientific American for a piece entitled, "Coral Reefs Show Remarkable Ability to Recover from Near Death". The article discussed a new study by Nicholas Graham (a coral researcher at James Cook University in Australia) and others, published this week in Nature, revealing that some corals can bounce back from near death experiences, such as the severe bleaching witnessed in many parts of the Pacific as well as the Florida Keys in 2014.

The Nature study indicated that of 21 reefs monitored off two central Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean since the major global bleaching event of 1998, 12 reefs (with a >90% loss of live coral cover) were able to recover to their pre-disturbance state. Nine other reefs were largely destroyed and underwent a shift to dominance by fleshy macroalgae. Recovery from the severe climate-induced bleaching event was favored when a reef was structurally complex and in deeper water, when the density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high, and when nutrient loads were low. The study's findings foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef ecosystems in response to climate change. For the Scientific American article, Dr. Eakin was asked not only to give remarks about the new Nature study, but also to discuss the severe coral bleaching events in the Pacific in 2014; the current thermal stress Outlook (February-May 2015) for coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans; and the potential for coral reef ecosystems to survive in the face of ongoing climate-induced warming and acidification of the world's oceans.