Intro to Coral Bleaching and Global Climate Change

This topic submitted by M. Jason Broshear ( at 5:13 PM on 4/13/05.

Check out this huge M. annularis and accompanying fish at Molasses Reef, Key Largo, Florida.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

I plan to discuss the basic ecological properties of coral reefs and how coral bleaching occurs. I plan to then elaborate on the implications on several factors affecting coral reefs as a direct cause of global climate change and anthropogenic effects. Some of these include: El Nino and La Nina, diseases and pathogens, storm surges, land use and water management practices, and sea surface temperatures.

I. What is Coral Bleaching
A. Intro
1. Environmental conditions
2. Symbiotic algae

II. Ecological Implications
A. Disease
1. Pathogens
B. Symbiotic Relationships
C. Storm Surges
D. Land use and Water management practices

III. Global Climate Change Implications
A. El Nino and La Nina
B. Sea Surface Temperature

IV. Conservation Methods
A. Policy
B. 1999 State Dept. Report

V. Conclusion


Rease, J.K. et al. Coral Bleaching and Global Climate Change: Scientific Findings and Policy
Recommendations. Conservation Biology, Vol. 14, No. 5. (Oct., 2000), pp. 1500-1511.

Smith, R.V., R. W. Buddemeier. Global Change and Coral Reef Ecosystems (in Special Section on
Global Environmental Change)Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 23. (1992), pp.

Roberts, Leslie. Coral Bleaching Threatens Atlantic Reefs (in Research News)
Science, New Series, Vol. 238, No. 4831. (Nov. 27, 1987), pp. 1228-1229.

Porter, J.W. et al. The Effect of Multiple Stressors on the Florida Keys Coral Reef Ecosystem: A
Landscape Hypothesis and a Physiological Test. Limnology and Oceanography, Vol. 44, No. 3,
Part 2: The Effects of Multiple Stressors on Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems. (May, 1999),
pp. 941-949.

Harvell, C.D., et al. Emerging Marine Diseases -- Climate Links and Anthropogenic Factors (in
Science's Compass; Review). Science, New Series, Vol. 285, No. 5433. (Sep. 3, 1999), pp.

Goreau, T. et al. Conservation of Coral Reefs after the 1998 Global Bleaching Event (in Issues in
International Conservation). Conservation Biology, Vol. 14, No. 1. (Feb., 2000), pp. 5-15.

Ellen, R. M. Druffel. Geochemistry of Corals: Proxies of past Ocean Chemistry, Ocean Circulation,
and Climate (in Papers from a Colloquium). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
of the United States of America, Vol. 94, No. 16. (Aug. 5, 1997), pp. 8354-8361.

Fong, Peggy, Peter W. Glynn. A Regional Model to Predict Coral Population Dynamics in Response to
El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Ecological Applications, Vol. 10, No. 3. (Jun., 2000), pp.

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