Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene
AuthorsHughes, Terry P.
Anderson, Kristen D.
Connolly, Sean R.
Heron, Scott F.
Kerry, James T.
Lough, Janice M.
Baird, Andrew H.
Baum, Julia K.
Berumen, Michael L.
Bridge, Tom C.
Claar, Danielle C.
Eakin, C. Mark
Gilmour, James P.
Graham, Nicholas A. J.
Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.
Hoey, Andrew S.
Lowe, Ryan J.
McCulloch, Malcolm T.
Pandolfi, John M.
Wilson, Shaun K.
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Marine Science Program
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractTropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Nina conditions than they were during El Nino events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Nino-Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.
CitationHughes TP, Anderson KD, Connolly SR, Heron SF, Kerry JT, et al. (2018) Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene. Science 359: 80–83. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aan8048.
SponsorsMajor funding for this research was provided by the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence Program (CE140100020). The contents of this manuscript are solely the opinions of the authors and do not constitute a statement of policy, decision, or position on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the U.S. government. Data reported in this paper are tabulated in the supplementary materials.
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