Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Have Made An Astonishing Comeback From The Dead

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Let’s just face it – doom and gloom have become part of the course when it comes to reports concerning the state of Mother Earth, with stories about a warming climate, extreme weather events, and the extinction of several species taking over headlines with tragic regularity.

Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Have Made An Astonishing Comeback From The Dead

Let’s just face it – doom and gloom have become part of the course when it comes to reports concerning the state of Mother Earth, with stories about a warming climate, extreme weather events, and the extinction of several species taking over headlines with tragic regularity.


The damage to Earth seems like a done deal – the result of humanity’s opening of Pandora’s Box in a manner which unleashes irreversible consequences.


That was the case in 2014 and 2015, when two scorching heat waves caused the worst coral bleaching in Hawaii’s history, making scientists ponder whether the reefs of the island were risking death.


However, four years later, researchers are reportedly “thrilled” to tell the world that Hawaii’s coral reefs are now bouncing back and showing signs of stabilization.


In a new survey released by The Nature Conservancy, healthy new reefs situated further away from human influence are thriving while even these corals in West Hawaii that faced 60% to 90% bleaching in 2015 are demonstrating signs of recovery.


As the data shows, while scientists were right to worry about irreparable damage to the state’s reefs due to the bleaching events, recovery was still possible.


The director of TNC’s Hawaii marine science program, Eric Conklin, said:


“We surveyed over 14,000 coral colonies at 20 sites along the West Hawaii coast from Kawaihae to Keauhou and were thrilled to see that many of the area’s reefs have stabilized, which is the first step toward recovery.”


That survey illustrated a significant gap in the health of these corals most exposed to the ecological effects of human economic activities, that were generally the hardest hit by the bleaching event, versus the corals in remote areas in which human shoreline access was limited.


TNC marine program director Kim Hum explained:


“Interestingly, the number of stressors affecting an area, not the severity of a single one, was the most important factor … Reefs that are fighting the impacts of several stressors are more susceptible to temperature stress, making them more likely to bleach and less able to recover if they do.”


Whereas severe bleaching remains likely in the coming years, the survey pointed to the possibility that Hawaii will be able to lower the stressors which render corals more vulnerable to dying off. However, this will mean protection from commercial fishing, land pollution, and runoff is needed. Hum said:


“We can make sure remote areas with few stressors stay that way, and we can reduce pressures from over-fishing, land-based pollutants, and runoff in more populated areas.”

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Thinking Humanity: Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Have Made An Astonishing Comeback From The Dead
Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Have Made An Astonishing Comeback From The Dead
Let’s just face it – doom and gloom have become part of the course when it comes to reports concerning the state of Mother Earth, with stories about a warming climate, extreme weather events, and the extinction of several species taking over headlines with tragic regularity.
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