This article was originally published on Phys.org


“Climate change has fueled coral reef bleaching throughout the tropics, with negative consequences for reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. A new study finds that in the Caribbean, independent island nations such as Cuba and Jamaica are less vulnerable to coral bleaching than island territories like Saint Barthélemy.

The study, published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and led by UC Berkeley graduate student Katherine Siegel, uses a compilation of environmental, socioeconomic, and management data from thirty Caribbean islands to assess variation in social and ecological vulnerability to .

Coral bleaching—which occurs when coral expels the algae living within their tissues—is often caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures. Corals are the cornerstones of  . If a bleaching event is prolonged and causes enough corals to die, the entire reef ecosystem can become severely compromised. Coral bleaching can have ripple effects for coastal communities that depend on reef ecosystems for benefits such as seafood, tourism, and shoreline protection.

“This study brings together data on 35 biophysical, ecological, socioeconomic, and management variables from 30 islands and creates important advances in understanding  in the Caribbean,” said Siegel, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management…”

Read on at: Phys.org