Corals are animals, actually closely related to jelly fish but of course differing in that they have a limestone skeleton made up of calcium carbonate. Their growth rates can be studied to give us knowledge of the ocean and its sea level over thousands of years.
They have lived throughout the oceans of our planet for many thousand years. Over those many years they have experienced both much warmer and much colder periods of geologic time. The bleaching that they have experienced in the view of many climate alarmists is not a sign of their destruction or in fact ill health. It is not a sign that the end of the world as we know it is in sight,
The simple truth is that when a coral experiences any number of environmental changes which could be the chemistry of its surrounding water or its local temperature, the algae that inhabit and feed a coral are likely to find the environment less suitable and leave for greener pastures.
The change in color of the coral which alarmists call “bleaching “ is a result of one group of bacteria leaving and then another group of bacteria taking its place. When the first resident group is leaving the coral becomes whiter and as a new group moves in the coral takes on a new color. This new color is often mistaken as the corals death nell. The algae that moves in not only provides it a new color but is also the corals source of the food it needs to live.
While the Polar Bear has been the face of the global warming delusion, coral reefs have been close behind as an animal that will eventually go extinct if we do not stop using fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide and warming the planet, its atmosphere and its oceans. The reality is anything but that.
The Great Barrier Reef, stretching 1400 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia is also a prominent “poster child “ for the supposed damage mankind is doing to our Earth. It is actually composed of nearly 3000 separate coral reefs, can be seen from space and is perhaps Australia’s greatest tourist attraction. It’s ultimate destruction by man-caused global warming (now called Climate Change of course), is used regularly to pull at the heartstrings of those who sadly buy into the delusion.
In fact, it is probable that no reef has received greater scrutiny, and been the subject of more research than the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), especially since the clamor to save it hit warp speed.
The late Robert M. Carter, Emeritus Fellow of the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, who was considered the world’s leading expert on the reef, wrote extensively about it in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. He explained that to quantify the trend in live coral cover of the GBR between 1995 and 2009, which the International Panel on Climate Change contends was the warmest decade and a half experienced by the planet in the past thousand years, annual surveys were performed. Marine biologists surveyed coastal communities each year on 47 reefs in six latitudes across about 700 miles of the GBR. They took samples at varying depths between 20 and 30 feet.
They found that coral cover increased in about half the regions and decreased in the other half as one would expect when nature operates without human intervention. Overall they concluded that coral cover was stable and that there was no evidence of “consistent system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995”.
Other research throughout the world has confirmed that corals are capable of reproductive activities under extreme environmental conditions. There is now a growing body of evidence to support the notion that corals inhabiting more thermally unstable habitats outperform reefs characterized by more stable temperatures.
In sum and a little more erudite: coral bleaching is an adaptive strategy for shuffling symbiont genotypes to create associations better adapted to new environmental conditions, as opposed to a breakdown of stable relationships that serves as a symptom of degenerating environmental conditions.
In the words of the late Robert Carter “the Great Barrier Reef is in fine fettle”.
NOTE: Portions of this article were excerpted from the excellent book Climate Change A Convenient Truth with permission of the author Jim Hollingsworth. His book is highly recommended for its brief treatment of the many issues misunderstood by the general public.