Global warming caused a rapid die-off of corals on our ocean reefs and toka (lagoon coral heads). As temperatures rose the corals expelled the symbiotic zooxanthellae, leaving bleached calcium carbonate. Corals lose the photosynthetic food supplies and are only left with filter feeding.
This was a direct result of global warming. Our lagoon water temperature exceeded 38 Celsius in 2016: deeper corals suffered most as they are used to cooler water than the shallower corals are. Photos are from different depths at the start of the bleaching event ~ a few weeks later just about all corals and clams were dead or dying. Terrible!
Please see our Downloads page for the PDF TMB6-Too Hot in Paradise! Kindly published by The Marine Biologistin April 2016. Metaki Poria!
BREAKING NEWS: very sadly we now have another coral bleaching event underway at Tongareva in January 2019. This time it seems that increased solar irradiance is the cause as sea surface temperatures are around normal (30 Celsius).
The initial report is on our Downloads page. Thirty coral assessments have now been conducted and bleaching is present at every site and rapidly worsening. A looming ecosystem tragedy!!!