Video of Coral Bleaching in Thailand: Update 20th May 2010 for coral bleaching at Racha Yai and Racha Noi

May 20, 2010
Corals fighting back, hopefully.

Corals fighting back, hopefully.

We’ve all been worried about the latest coral bleaching in Thailand. All parts of Thailand have been affected including the Similan Islands, Phuket, Phi Phi, and the Gulf of Thailand. Coral bleaching at Racha Yai and Racha Noi has been happening for several weeks now. I’m no marine biologist but today, but with cautious optimism I can report that the corals at the dive sites we visited today seemed to be doing better than only two days ago.

A couple of days ago almost all the stag horn corals below 16 meters were pretty much completely bleached. Today the same corals up to a depth of around 11 or 12 meters were showing signs of rejuvenation. Some of the color is coming back, and it’s not the destructive coral enveloping algae. It looks like some new protozoan algae is starting to recolonize the corals. This is especially noticeable in the tips of the bleached stag horn corals, which are now a healthy blue color showing signs of new life. Other corals are showing similar signs of improvement. It’s too early to make a prediction as to how much coral will be lost and what kind of recovery we’ll see over the coming months. This recovery is well documented. The new protozoa that colonizes the corals can often be hardier and more resilient to subtle temperature changes.

The video above was shot on 20th May at Racha Noi and Racha Yai. You can notice the nice blue tips on some of the corals which is a good sign.

Last week the water temperature was fluctuating between 31 and 33 degrees Celsius. Toady it was between 30 and 32 degrees Celsius. The wind is still coming from the east but there is a large swell coming in from the Indian Ocean. Hopefully it will bring cooler sea temperatures and aid in the recovery of the corals.

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