Reef Bleaching

in Oceana and Other Places

What is Reef Bleaching?

A phenomenon that occurs when coral obtains a white color, as opposed to its famous florescent brighter colors due to stress.

Factors that Contribute to this "Stress" on the Reefs:

+Higher/warmer water temperatures (UV rays being trapped in the atmosphere)

+Diseases & algae mutations


+'Salinity Shock' from heavy rains and floods


This is an algae that corals have a very tight relationship with. Zooxanthellae (Zoo-zan-the-lay) is the algae that allows their host plants to grow more and flourish, and the host will then in return provide the zooxanthellae with a supply of carbon dioxide, as well as a protected environment in order for photosynthesis to take place uninterrupted. When the corals cannot work with the zooxanthellae because of the stress they are under, they are unable to absorb nutrients, and therefore their famous coloring fades, leaving them with a white "bleached" color. Bleaching ultimately means the absence of zooxanthellae.


Buchheim, Jason. "Coral Reef Bleaching."Marine Biology with Odyssey Expeditions - Tropical Marine Biology Voyages!. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <>.

Levins, Nicole. "Coral Reefs: Coral Bleaching What You Need to Know | The Nature Conservancy." Nature Conservancy | Protecting Nature, Preserving Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <>.

"Coral Reefs: Bleaching Basics." Reef Resilience: Building Resilience into Coral Reef Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <>.>>>