Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, has highlighted a growing concern about the rapidity of ocean warming and its effect on sensitive species. In an article published on The Conversation last week, he explained how many scientists are concerned about the fact that coral bleaching is occurring in three oceans at an alarming rate.
Bleaching is a phenomenon that turns corals white or fades their colours. It is caused by consistently warmer than average ocean temperatures and results in the corals beginning to starve and eventually dying.
While corals make up a relatively small part of the ocean they are a vital part of the ocean ecology and it is estimated that 500 million people derive benefits from coral reefs.
You can read about current theories on the reasons for the rapid temperature rises in his article: ‘The oceans are becoming too hot for coral, sooner than expected’.
The STELR Module, Climate Change and Oceans, features case studies of small island nations and includes activities on the properties of water and ice, acids and bases and the chemistry of carbon dioxide and carbonates. To obtain a copy of the module, please contact STELR.