Cuba, Monitoring Coral Reef Bleaching over Ten Years

Havana, May 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuba is one of the nations with the most knowledge about coral bleaching, and has produced an annual report for the last 10 years on this phenomenon, a Cuban oceanographer told Prensa Latina. “Only a few countries have a system to monitor coral bleaching,” Pedro Alcolado told the news agency, at Havana’s Institute of Oceanology.

Cuban specialists produce an annual report on the status of these formations as part of its work on Cuba’s Early Warning Volunteer Coral Reef Monitoring Network, he said.

He also warned that climate change in addition to pollution and overfishing have put coral reefs throughout the entire Caribbean region in a precarious position.

Among the different causes are the increase of the frequency of hurricanes and diseases simultaneous with increased sea temperature, explained Alcolado.

Cuba has not escaped this trend, and though its coral cover and reef conditions have stabilized, there is a low level of bleaching, causing only resistant species to survive, he said.

The coral bleaching is a warning event due to rising sea temperatures that

weaken them and make them vulnerable to microbial diseases, as well as causing their death by starvation.

Cuba’s monitoring network consists of dive centers throughout the country, universities, research centers and environment, as well as diving aficionados who monitor the status of coral bleaching and other events of interest to environmental conservation.

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