Clean bill of health for coral
The Department of Parks and Wildlife have found few traces of coral bleaching in reefs on the Pilbara coast.
DPaW research scientist George Shedrawi said no further signs of bleaching were found at the Montebello Islands, Barrow Island, Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef.
Coral bleaching occurs when there is a change in water temperature and has the potential to kill a reef system.
“Coral bleaching is a stress response by the corals as a result of increased water temperature,” Mr Shedrawi said.
“There’s evidence to suggest that corals can regain them after a mild bleaching event but after a severe bleaching event they just die off.” Mr Shedrawi said coral bleaching can occur as a result of global warming.
“It needs a global effort across the world for reducing the effects of climate change that we’re seeing,” he said.
“The other thing that we can do is manage other stresses like pollution, over fishing, habitat destruction, dredging ... if we can reduce those other pressures then it increases the chances of the corals that have been affected by bleaching to recover.
“If you have the flu, then you get pneumonia and on top of that you get another disease, your chances of survival decrease with every new ailment.
“It’s the same with coral reefs, if you can just only expose them to one then their chances of recovery are higher.”
The DPaW Karratha marine team conducted tests to check for coral bleaching while collecting settlement tiles that were laid out at the end of March.
Terracotta settlement tiles are attached to non living parts of the reef ahead of a coral spawning event.
Once the coral have spawned, they settle on the tiles and are left to grow.
Mr Shedrawi has just been out with the research team collecting the tiles which will be now be analysed.
“Coral settlement tiles ... measure the number of young coming into a population,” he said.
“I’m planning next week on assessing those tiles and seeing what the numbers are and comparing them to others areas.”
DPaW researchers collect coral settlement tiles.