Amidst the tidal wave of news on sea level rise, the warming of ocean temperatures, acidification, and all issues impacting the health of coral reefs worldwide, is there hope for these vital marine ecosystems? That hope may be found in the Red Sea.

red sea corals kaetidh flickr

A recent report brings us some good news from the northern Red Sea where its corals exhibit a unique resistance to the effects of warming ocean waters. Scientists from the King Abdullah University, al-Azhar University and the University of Essex authored a study suggesting that in the Gulf of Aqaba (at the northern end of the Red Sea) coral reefs enjoy a wider than normal margin in their ability to resist warmer waters. Read EcoWatch. (photo – kaetidh/flickr)


Update: Celebrating The Year of the Reef

International Year of the Reef 2018During 2018 we are celebrating The International Year of The Reef. Over the next six months we will increase the frequency of our articles on the world’s coral reef ecosystems. We will include current news on the health of reefs and the worldwide efforts to maintain and restore them. In addition, we will republish a variety of our past, but still very pertinent and helpful articles on coral reefs. Our hope is that this effort will focus more attention on these very important issues.


Coral that is less susceptible to Thermal Stress

This finding was determined by comparing patterns of coral bleaching events since 1982. This comparison indicated the waters of the northern Red Sea were less susceptible to thermal stress. In fact, a temperature margin of nearly 5 degrees Celsius was measured.

“This anomaly, which is only found in the Red Sea, gives us a window of opportunity to take action,” said Christian Voolstra one of the report’s authors.

At a time when coral reefs worldwide are experiencing extreme heat-related bleaching, the United Nations has concluded that within the next 25 years possibly 25 of 29 coral reef systems designated as World Heritage Sites will experience twice-a-decade coral bleaching events. This scenario will “rapidly kill most corals present and prevent successful reproduction necessary for recovery of corals.”

See our article on the Great Barrier Reef: Is The Great Barrier Reef Dead: Not Quite

Can the Gulf of Aqaba in the northern Red Sea, an area stretching 1,120 miles, become a refuge for coral? Possibly, however this geographic area has much to contend with beyond global warming. Bordering Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, it is one of the world’s most fractious areas and faces coastal development, pollution and oil spill issues.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network


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