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The influence of solar radiation on bleaching of shallow water reef corals in the Andaman Sea, 1993-1998

Lookup NU author(s): Richard Dunne, Emeritus Professor Barbara Brown


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Historically, elevated sea-temperature excursions have been used almost exclusively to explain incidences of natural coral bleaching. Little attention, however, has been paid to instances where environmental conditions appear conducive to bleaching but none has been observed. In this paper we examine contemporaneous records of sea temperature and solar radiation (photosynthetically active radiation PAR, 400-700 nm) over a 6-year period at a site in the Andamah Sea where regular monitoring of shallow water reef coral communities has been conducted since 1979. Four years (1991, 1995, 1997, and 1998) when anomalous sea temperatures were recorded in May are compared. We suggest a complex interaction of PAR and sea temperature, whereby elevated solar radiation prior to sea-temperature maxima may actually protect corals against subsequent bleaching. In addition, we demonstrate the important role that sea-level anomalies play in modifying the underwater light regime to bring about such conditions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dunne RP, Brown BE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Coral Reefs

Year: 2001

Volume: 20

Issue: 3

Pages: 201-210

ISSN (print): 0722-4028

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0975

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s003380100160


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