Volunteers and Coral Bleaching


(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

On the radio this morning, there was a discussion about the massive coral bleaching event currently taking place around the world. Coral bleaching is caused when environmental conditions, such as water temperature and acidity, cause coral reefs to become stressed. The stress causes the coral to release a symbiotic algae which is what gives them their color and provides nutrients, a loss which causes the coral to become weakened.  If this leads to major coral reef deaths, it can and will seriously impact the ecosystem of our oceans and the other species who live in and among the coral reefs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains it here and there are news stories from the BBC and Washington Post detailing the worldwide coral crisis. How does this relate to environmental volunteers, you ask? It’s volunteers who are now working to monitor coral reefs in their area, watching carefully for bleaching among their local reefs. This story out of Hawaii discusses a volunteer event aimed at training people to monitor coral reefs and report to the Eyes of The Reef Network. Here’s another story and one more about the event, which is being called Bleachapalooza. Very similar events will likely be needed around the world as coral bleaching continues and worsens.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day. Available at the following links.



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