Home » Coral Disease and Bleaching

Category Archives: Coral Disease and Bleaching


Why are Hawaii’s corals bleaching? 2015 FAQ

What is coral bleaching?

Coral bleaching is the loss of color from coral tissue allowing the white skeleton to show through.

Coral’s have an important relationship (symbiosis) with single-celled algae (zooxanthellae), which live in their tissues. The zooxanthella provides food for the coral and in return the coral provides a stable home for the algae. Most of the coral’s nutrition comes from the algae. Coral bleaching is the loss of color from the colony when the algae are expelled from the coral polyps and then the white coral skeleton is visible through the transparent coral tissue.

Partially bleached brown lobe coral (Porites evermanni)

Partially bleached brown lobe coral (Porites evermanni)

Close up of bleached coral polyps on brown lobe coral surrounded by healthy tissue

Close up of bleached coral polyps on brown lobe coral surrounded by healthy tissue

Why are our corals bleaching this year? (more…)


Senior Project “Adopts” Coral Disease and Asks: What Can We Do?

Over the past 6 months, Scott Bacon, Eyes of the Reef (EOR) Coordinator on Kauai recently worked with two high school students to document the health of coral reefs and the extent of the coral disease on Kauai for their senior projects.   (more…)

The EOR Network in Action: A Collaborative EOR Response to Coral Disease at Kewalo, Oahu

On July 15, 2013, Angela Dona-Richards, a UH graduate student and EOR Network member, reported a possible disease outbreak on Porites evermanni from Nautilus Reef in Kewalo, Oahu. She provided pictures of the affected colonies with lesions appearing as swollen, bright pink patches.  On August 6, 2013, a multi-agency response team was sent out to investigate the area consisting of USGS (Dr. Thierry Work, Renee Breeden), DAR (Jono Blodgett, Derek LeVault) and UH/HIMB (Dr. Greta Aeby, Maya Walton, David Slater).  They located the site of the outbreak at a subsurface day-use mooring buoy on Nautilus Reef. (more…)

Meeting of the Minds: Scientists Meet with DAR to Discuss Coral Disease On Kauai

The Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) convened an update from three scientists who have been studying the cyanobacterial infection  that is currently affecting Montipora, or mound corals, on the north shore of Kauai that was originally reported by an Eyes of the Reef (EOR) volunteer in 2012.  The intent of this meeting was to provide DAR biologists, managers, and education and outreach experts with accurate and up-to-date data information on the location and severity of the affected areas, research accomplishments, and future survey plans.  This information will be useful as DAR helps to support additional surveying and water testing on the affected reefs this summer and continues to discuss management options.


%d bloggers like this: