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Coral Bleaching UPSC NOTE


Coral Bleaching

  • The process when corals become white due to various stressors, such as changes in temperature, light, or nutrients.

  • Bleaching occurs when coral polyps expel the algae (zooxanthellae) that live inside their tissue, causing the coral to turn white.

  • Corals are particularly vulnerable: when the water around them becomes too warm, they are susceptible to bleaching.

  • When corals lose their vibrant colours and turn white, they have bleached. 

  • This appearance-based definition is valuable because, just by the corals’ pallor, an observer can say that the surrounding water has changed somehow.

  • Most corals are home to a type of algae called zooxanthellae, which give the corals their colours as well as have a symbiotic relationship with them. 

  • The zooxanthellae provide amino acids and sugars, and receive many minerals and carbon dioxide in return.

  • When the ocean environment changes – for example, if its temperature rises beyond a point, it becomes too acidic, or it becomes too bright – the zooxanthellae living within the coral leave. 

  • As they do, the coral fades until it appears to have been bleached.

  • If the corals continue to be stressed, they won’t welcome the algae back and eventually die.

  • Other stressors include low tides and water pollution, as well as ecosystem changes wrought by the climate crisis.

  • Bleaching is not always a death knell. 

  • Some colonies have been known to survive a bleaching event, like, famously, one near Japan’s Iriomote Island: it was bleached in 2016 but showed signs of recovery in 2020.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Coral Bleaching UPSC NOTE
Coral Bleaching UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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