Cloudy Waters Might Be Good for Coral Reefs

Written by on January 5, 2016 in Coral Reefs, Marine Life
Coral reef in Palau.

Coral reef in Palau. Photo credit: NOAA.

In order to thrive, most coral reefs need clean, clear, warm water with plenty of access to sunlight. But when water temperatures increase too much, the corals get stressed and can bleach and eventually die.

The gradual increase in temperature due to climate change has led to massive declines in coral reefs around the world. This is where cloudy water might actually be a good thing. New research from Florida Institute of Technology shows that turbid waters may help corals survive.

Florida Tech scientists Chris Cacciapaglia and Rob van Woesik explain that moderately cloudy water can shade coral reefs from extreme light and heat.

“We’ve identified refuges from climate change, where naturally turbid environments will reduce the temperature stress predicted for 2100,” Cacciapaglia said in a news release.

“Naturally turbid environments may be among the few places where coral species survive in a warmer climate” said van Woesik.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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