scientific article | Caribb J Sci
Ghiold J, Smith SH
Mass bleaching of 28 of the 43 known species of Caribbean hermatypic corals and 2 species of hydrocoral was observed in the Cayman Islands, British West Indies, from October 1987 to March 1988. The severity of bleaching varied among species and with depth. The species most affected were the scleractinians Montastrea annularis (Ellis and Solander), Acropora cervicornis (Lamarck), Agaricia agaricites (Linnaeus), A. lamarcki (Milne-Edwards and Haime) Agaricia undata (Ellis and Solander), and 2 hydrocorals Millepora complanata Lamarck and M. alcicornis (Linnaeus). Observations and measurements of bleaching were conducted from 10-77 m by replicate transect lines. Bleaching was not detected below 84 m. At 30 m, 90% of all colonies of Montastrea annularis and 73% of all Agaricia agaricites colonies were bleached, but at 46 m these percentages decreased to 14% and 60%, respectively. Recovery times for bleached species ranged from 18 days for Acropora palmata (Lamarck) to 74 days for Isophyllastrea rigida (Dana) and Millepora complanata. Montastrea annularis suffered the most damage with 54% of all colonies affected still not fully recovered as of late March 1988. A highly stressed reef near Georgetown Harbor, Grand Cayman, also showed 100% of the Acropora cervicornis colonies still bleached in March, and 20% of these individuals were overgrown with algae. It is speculated whether elevated temperatures or high light intensity may have caused these events.
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SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)