Coral Bleaching Definition

by Laurent Cousineau

Coral bleaching refers to the process in which a coral colony loses zooxanthellae, the microscopic algae, when under some form of environmental stress.

As zooxanthellae is expelled, the coral colony appears white, hence the term "bleached."

Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

Due to the intake of carbon dioxide by the ocean, the pH levels decrease.

In other words, the carbon dioxide we emit does not only stay in the atmosphere but in fact, is absorbed by the ocean as well.

Ocean Acidification

In effect, as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the ocean increases, ocean acidification takes place.

In turn, ocean acidification has a serious impact on coral reefs and in effect, causes coral bleaching.

Essentially, the high carbon dioxide levels inhibit coral reefs from building their skeletons.

Devastating Impact to Millions of Species

Millions of marine species depend on coral colonies and hence, if the latter are bleached, then the entire ocean food chain will be affected.

Still, we do not fully understand the importance and beauty of coral reefs and if we continue unleashing so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they will soon disappear.

We Must Take Action

Without doubt, mankind has an obligation to preserve marine life and thus it has an obligation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to save coral reefs, an integral part of the marine food chain.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Climate Change Glossary.

Return to Top of Page  

Like This Page?

Recent Articles

  1. Interview With Jonah Bryson: "If we fail to protect the environment, nothing else matters"

    Nov 07, 16 12:21 AM

    We had the chance to speak with Film Director, Musician and Conservationist Jonah Bryson during TIFF 2016. Bryson has directed “The Fight For Bala”, a

    Read More

  2. Climate is Back

    Nov 07, 16 12:19 AM

    As I engage relentlessly in the fight to mobilize a complacent public and encourage reluctant politicians to focus on climate change action, I’ve come

    Read More

  3. Politicians Need to Break Free From Fossil Fuels

    Nov 06, 16 11:39 PM

    It’s time to break free from fossil fuels! It’s not time to promote pipelines and expand tar sands production in an attempt to create short-term jobs.

    Read More

  4. The Tides They Are A Changin'

    Nov 06, 16 11:18 PM

    We are really screwing up the Earth, and not having another one handy we need to get the message out to change our ways before it's too late. We cannot

    Read More

  5. Dying for Your Planet

    Oct 30, 16 02:51 PM

    Have you ever thought about what you value so much that you'd be willing to die for? What immediately comes to my mind is that I would do anything to keep

    Read More

Alternative Energy








How to Help


Important News

Sign a Petition!