Join us for an insightful webinar on the current state of coral bleaching in Fiji, presented by Helen Sykes, an expert in Resort Support and Marine Ecology. In May 2023, we will explore the alarming trends in global temperatures, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and its impact on Fiji’s marine ecosystem.
According to recent NOAA data, April 2023 ranked as the fourth warmest April on record, with global ocean temperatures reaching a record high. We will examine the implications of rising water temperatures on coral reefs, particularly focusing on Fiji’s last major coral bleaching event that occurred from 2000 to 2002. During this event, average water temperatures above 29°C for more than 56 days resulted in widespread coral death across Fiji.
By analyzing temperature loggers and changes in average summer water temperatures, we will uncover the alarming rise in water temperature by 0.4°C since the early 2000s. NOAA Coral Reef Watch has been actively issuing Bleaching Alerts, which we will explore in detail, highlighting the predictions and subsequent events related to bleaching likelihood in Fiji during 2023.
Surprisingly, recent in-water temperature logger data from Beqa shallow reef has shown that the corals have defied expectations. Despite the prolonged exposure to temperatures that historically would have resulted in significant coral mortality, the corals have adapted and resisted mass death. We will discuss this fascinating adaptation and the role of “Day-Glo” or bright colours, which new research suggests may be corals evolving to protect themselves after losing zooxanthellae algae.
For divers planning to visit Fiji, we will provide valuable information on the resilience of Fiji’s coral reefs. While 20 years ago, most corals did not survive long-term temperatures over 29°C, they are now displaying resistance to temperatures approximately half a degree higher. Corals that exhibit “Day-Glo” colours are adapting and have a higher chance of surviving prolonged exposure to warmer water.
This webinar aims to raise awareness about the real and impactful effects of climate change on coral reefs worldwide. We are fortunate that Fiji possesses highly resilient corals that are adapting to warming waters. To support the conservation of these special reefs, we encourage divers and enthusiasts to sign an online petition urging policymakers to value and protect these 50 globally important reefs.
Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights into the current state of coral bleaching in Fiji and understand the importance of conservation efforts. Register now and join us for an engaging discussion on Fiji’s coral reefs, climate change, and the potential for resilience and adaptation in the face of adversity.