Our world climate is changing. We can already feel it, but other organisms sense it quicker than us and even more drastically. Such are tropical, reef-building corals. Their polyps react very sensitive to changing conditions like water quality and in particular the surrounding ocean temperature: the stress caused by rising temperatures drives them to expel symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing them to turn completely white. Without the nutrients the algae provide, the coral polyps slowly starve and die.
Coral bleaching is one of the major threats to existing coral reefs. Global mass bleaching events have taken place in 1998, 2010 and 2014 – 2016 (probably lasting well into 2017). If global warming is not stalled, such events will increase in frequency and intensity all over the world with a devastating effect on coral reefs worldwide – these fragile ecological communities may be gone within this century. Losing reefs would have grave consequences for the marine biodiversity and a widespread cascade effect on other ecosystems – on land as well.
The Jetlagged came across severe coral bleaching within the Coral Triangle in 2016. They witnessed healthy reefs they have dived for years fading and dying. Utterly shocked, they felt the urge to document and show the world the eerie sight of pale corals and white reefs and explain why this was happening.
With it, comes a personally emotional and strong appeal: we still have time to save the reefs – but we have to change the way we treat our world immediately.
If you have liked “Chasing Coral”, you might also enjoy our film!