Bleaching: A survival strategy – not a death sentence.
Far from being a calamity for corals, and something that has only recently started to occur, coral bleaching is a perfectly natural phenomenon that has developed over hundreds of millions of years of evolution. The latest statistics of coral cover on the reef have proven that very little coral has been killed by bleaching, and the recovery is always strong.
Bleaching is when the coral, which is an animal, expels the algae, called zooxanthellae, that lives inside it. This occurs during hot weather, but also in cold weather or from other factors that stress the coral.
This section is broken into the following sections
In addition, this chapter from the book “Climate Change: The facts 2017” about the resilience of corals to temperature changes discusses bleaching and makes the case that the threat from bleaching is over stated. Bleaching is akin to bushfires on land – it looks terrible after it happens, but the reefs grow back in time and is likely a necessary part of the life (and death) of many corals on the GBR. The proposition that bleaching is a modern phenomenon that never occurred before the 1980’s is also unsupported.
Another excellent source of information about bleaching that will take a different view to conventional wisdom is by Jim Steele here.