Bleaching our Logo for Coral Bleaching Awareness Month
This November, CORDIO is trading our vibrant logo for a bleached one to call attention to the unfolding coral bleaching.
Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the sea, support an astounding 25% of all known marine life despite covering less than 1% of the seafloor. These vibrant ecosystems are not just biodiversity hotspots but also serve as the backbone of many coastal communities, providing food, income, and protection.
However, the clock is ticking. The La Niña event that started in 2020 is waning, and forecasts indicate that 2024 could be hotter than this year with the emergence of El Niño. This poses a serious threat to coral reefs as El Niño events have historically triggered widespread coral bleaching and mortality. With the alarming rise in ocean temperatures due to the human-driven climate crisis, large-scale heat stress and coral bleaching is already underway in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and the Atlantic.
2-year history of sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for all events evolving into El Niño since 1950 (grey lines) and the current event (purple line). NOAA’s primary metric for the development of El Niño is the sea surface temperature in the Niño-3.4 region, a box in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific (NOAA, 2023).
Bleached corals captured during a 2017 survey of the Therese South reef in Seychelles.
A recent study led by CORDIO director, Dr. David Obura, revealed that the reefs of the Western Indian Ocean are already at high risk of collapse, with potential catastrophic repercussions for ecosystems and the communities that depend on these reefs for sustenance and livelihood.
In response to this crisis, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in partnership with the Coral Reef Alliance, are symbolically “bleaching” their logos to honour Coral Bleaching Awareness month this November. CORDIO will be joining them in casting a spotlight on the alarming coral bleaching that is already unfolding.
In the face of these challenges, every piece of information counts. CORDIO continues to encourage everyone to report coral bleaching observations using this link. The data will be incorporated into the global bleaching form supported by the NOAA Coral Reef Watch programme, providing key insights and information to support effective conservation strategies.
As we approach the impending 2024 bleaching season in the Western Indian Ocean, the fight to save our coral reefs is more critical than ever. Bleaching our logo serves as a poignant reminder that life is indeed better in colour and it is our shared responsibility to ensure that the dynamic kaleidoscope of coral reefs doesn’t fade away.