Sea warming causing coral bleaching in the sea off Phuket

Photo from: Marine National Park Operation Center 2 (Phuket)

Corals in the sea off Phuket have started to bleach due to the warming of the sea, according to reports from the Phuket-based operations centre of the 2nd National Marine Park.

Due to steady warming of the water in the Andaman Sea, officials at the centre conducted a survey of coral reefs, at Had Nai Yang beach in the Sirinart national park, on Thursday and found that the sea surface temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius and about 10 percent of the staghorn and mushroom corals, between 1-4 metres deep, have started to bleach, although they are not yet dead.

The report said that, if the warming of the sea continues, the coral bleaching problem will become more serious and will affect the ability of the reefs to regenerate.

Associate Professor Suchana Chavanit of marine science department at the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, told Thai PBS that corals in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand have been deteriorating due to excessive tourism and fishing but, in the past 5-10 years, warming of sea water, especially during the dry season, has led to coral bleaching.

She pointed out that the weather this year is especially hot, causing sea temperatures to exceed 30 degrees Celsius, adding that staghorn and table corals are very sensitive to sea warming.

To prevent corals in the Thai seas from becoming extinct, Suchana proposed a project to deep-freeze the sperm of the corals for future artificial insemination to ensure a chance for their survival.

There are currently over 70 coral species in Thai waters.


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