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July 27, 2007

Churn, Churn, Churn

BY: nikki

Being raised in Southern California, I was never exposed to hurricanes, but from what I hear (and obviously what we’ve all seen), they are not a force to reckon with. So who would-a thunk this oft dangerous weather phenomenon might actually benefit the oceans from time to time?

Perhaps you’ve heard of coral reef bleaching, the result of a loss of symbiotic algae from coral reefs due to stress often associated with warmer-than-normal water temperatures. OK, I didn’t either until I read it in this New York Times article.

If a reef doesn’t endure a direct hit from a hurricane, though, all the churning of the water from the hurricane can actually lower water temperatures and relieve stress on the reefs – ergo coral bleaching may be reversed at least temporarily, according to scientists.

Oceana campaigners work to protect coral through our destructive trawling campaigns. And apparently legislators are beginning to sense the importance of fragile coral reefs, not just for their beauty but for the protection and food they provide to sea creatures living on the reefs.