Major Coral Bleaching Event
On the heels of the mass mortality event in July 2016, we now have a major coral bleaching event in the sanctuary. Sanctuary researchers report that almost 50% of the coral colonies in a study site at East Flower Garden Bank were bleached or paling (in the process of bleaching) as of October 5, 2016.
Sea surface temperatures have been over 30°C (86°F) for 85 days of the past four months, putting the sanctuary in the midst of one of the worst coral bleaching events on record. While the past week has seen temperatures drop slightly to 29°C (84°F), if these warm water conditions continue, the corals may starve and die.