High spatial variability in coral bleaching around Moorea (French Polynesia): patterns across locations and water depths
Comptes Rendus Biologies
Mass coral bleaching events are one of the main threats to coral reefs. A severe bleaching event impacted Moorea, French Polynesia, between March and July 2002, causing 55 +/- 14% of colonies to suffer bleaching around the island. However, bleaching varied significantly across coral genera, locations, and as a function of water depth, with a bleaching level as high as 72% at some stations. Corals in deeper water bleached at a higher rate than those in shallow water, and the north coast was more impacted than the west coast. The relatively small scale of variability in bleaching responses probably resulted from the interaction between extrinsic factors, including hydrodynamic condition, and intrinsic factors, such as differential adaptation of the coral/algal association.