Beautiful though they might seem, in fact they are suffering. More than 60% of corals in reefs in the Maldives has been hit by “bleaching” as the world is gripped by record temperatures in 2016, a scientific survey suggests. (The Guardian 8.8.2016)
What is to blame? Unusually warm temperatures in the Indian Ocean due to the climate change as well as the “El Niño” phenomenon are to blame for the bleaching caused which occurs when algae that would normally thrive in the coral is expelled due to stress caused by extreme changes in temperatures, turning the coral’s colour into white, and putting it at risk of dying unless conditions return to normal.
The Maldives hosts around 3% of the world’s coral reefs and the islands are considered particularly at risk due to climate change because they are low-lying and threatened by sea level rises.