What happens to a coral reef after a mass bleaching event? Often, algae overgrows the dead corals, dramatically impacting the reef ecosystem, like on this bleached reef near Lisianski Island in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. While this can benefit some herbivorous fish in the short term, over the long term the reef ecosystem loses its integrity.
By minimizing stressors like pollution and runoff, overfishing, and the impacts of tourism and recreation, we can increase the odds that corals will recover after a bleaching event.
What will you do to help protect these important ecosystems?
(Photo: John Burns/HIMB/NOAA)