As we head into Fiji’s summer season, warming sea water temperatures make us ask whether there might be coral bleaching this year.
A student project, supported by communities and tourism operators, will attempt to answer this question between the months of January and June 2020.
Last year a group of researchers produced a 2-page snapshot factsheet that explained how, in 2019, bleaching happened but did not lead to large-scale coral death (see https://www.marineecologyfiji.com/snapshot-of-the-2019-coral-bleaching-in-fiji/ )
This year Tiarana Mitchell and Taitusi Dradra, working with Marine Ecology Consulting, will be monitoring coral reefs in Suva, Beqa, Serua, the Coral Coast and the Yasawa islands at the start of our normal bleaching period (Jan/ Feb); at the height of our normal bleaching period (March/ April); and during our normal cooling phase (May/ June), to assess levels of coral death or recovery.
Results will be available therough the FHTA website, as well as circulated directly, and are being reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch programme (https://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/index.php).
They are assistance with accommodation and diving support by Reef Safari, Barefoot Manta Island; Diveaway at Hideaway Resort; Lawaki Beach House, Beqa island; Marine Ecology Consulting and Resort Support, Suva; and Serua Village, Serua Island.
We will keep you updated on this project as it progresses.
Helen Sykes, Stuart Gow, Tiarana Mitchell & Taitusi Dradra.The-question-of-coral-bleaching-in-Fiji-in-2020