a close up of a white, bleached branching coral

Coral bleaching

Understanding coral bleaching across Australia’s tropical coral reefs

Coral bleaching is a coral’s response to stressful conditions and can result in its death.

The 2020 Status of the World’s Coral Reef Report showed 14% of the world’s coral reefs have died since 2009, and coral bleaching caused by marine heatwaves have driven this loss. This pressure is predicted to continue with climate change.

From understanding the history of coral bleaching, to developing large-scale solutions to boost coral resilience and recovery, AIMS is at the forefront of coral bleaching research:

  • providing real-time oceanographic data to science and management communities to understand marine heatwaves and predict bleaching
  • documenting coral bleaching through routine monitoring and collaborative aerial surveys
  • investigating corals’ ability to adapt and acclimatise to warming oceans
  • assessing fine-scale and reef-scale outcomes for corals and other reef animals
  • documenting bleaching histories through the largest coral core library in the southern hemisphere
  • developing actions and interventions that can restore and help reefs adapt to a different future.