Indian Ocean Reefs in the Maldives become latest victim to coral bleaching
New underwater photographs of the devastating effects of coral bleaching in the Maldives have recently been released. Using 360-degree photographic technology, the pictures were taken by the XL Catlin Seaview Survey as part of a study that started in 2014, and the results show that the reefs are in the early stages of bleaching, but the full extent of the damage is not yet known.
As concerns over climate change grow, the Maldives looks to be the latest victim, after new photographs reveal that coral bleaching is affecting the reefs in the Indian Ocean. The images were released following a survey that has been monitoring the bleaching event since 2014.
The XL Catlin Seaview Survey, a joint project between the University of Queensland, The Ocean Agency, Google, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, took the photographs using 360-degree photographic technology. The results indicated that coral bleaching is present in the reefs in the Maldives, but the full extent of any damage is not yet known.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, declared:
"Those pictures are beautiful, but they're quite shocking. A lot of people will be swimming around on these reefs, not really being aware that what they're looking at are corals that are in the first stages of dying."
Last week, a new survey revealed that coral bleaching has killed 35 per cent of coral in the central and northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Coral bleaching has already affected numerous reefs in the Pacific region, and it is predicted that the Coral Triangle, Japan and the Caribbean could be next.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said that recent coral bleaching is similar to a mass bleaching event in 1998 that occurred at the same time as an El Nino cycle. This has allowed scientists to predict where the bleaching will happen in other destinations using sea temperatures as a guide.
Mr Hoegh-Guldberg, also the chief scientist for The Ocean Agency, explained:
"In many ways, we know what's going to happen next, so rolling out of Australia, we expected the Maldives to go sort of in the May timeframe.”
The most likely destinations to be affected next will be Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The professor added that in the height of the northern hemisphere summer, the bleaching could affect Caribbean reefs.
The XL Catlin Seaview Survey is working with the Maldivian government to secure funding for the next trip. They have already assessed the reefs across the atoll system in the Maldives, and are now looking to revisit the sites in six months to assess any damage and gain further results.
Coral bleaching is also affecting many marine parks across Thailand, and more than ten scuba diving sites have been closed in the country due to help the fragile reef systems restore themselves. Between 40 and 80 per cent of the reefs on the east and west coasts of Thailand have been affected.
Coral bleaching usually occurs when sea temperatures rise or there is pollution in the water. Stressed coral forces out the colourful nourishing algae which lives inside, and this causes it to lose its colour. It then becomes vulnerable to damage and if the coral is unable to regain its algae, it will starve and die. Swimmers, divers and snorkelers can help reduce the effects of coral bleaching by wearing eco-friendly sun cream, never touching the fragile plants, and taking excursions and tours with reputable companies that set limits on boat trips to sites to avoid overcrowding, littering, and fuel pollution.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 20:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Maldives Browse all
Explore an underwater world of breathtaking beauty and laze on the finest white sands at Sun Island Resort, a tropical paradise of peace and serenity.
- exclusive rate reduction for our clients
- Enjoy endless activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, water-skiing and more
- Tickle your taste buds with rich flavours and innovative cuisine that incorporates exotic Thai and Oriental influences
Explore stunning coral reefs in your private piece of heaven on earth where the sparkling white sands will caress your toes as the warm turquoise waters gently kiss your skin.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, top-shelf beverages and selected sports all come included in the price of your stay
- Discover the stunning coral reefs, go out on a fishing trip or have a go at water skiing, amongst other activities
- Overlook the Indian Ocean from your room and step out onto the white soft sands the Maldives is famous for
Do the castaway experience in style and live your Robinson Crusoe dream
- Lose yourself in over 3 km of pristine beaches and aquamarine lagoons
- Beautiful bungalows nestled in the tropical gardens or on the beach, right over the lagoon
- Sample mouth-watering delights at a wide selection of dining options from flavours of the Orient to Mediterranean delights
Combine effortless luxury with the stunning surrounding paradise in the Maldives
- Create lasting memories with a sunset cruise
- Discover the crystal clear waters and marine life through a wide range of water sports activities
- Relax and unwind in the well-appointed luxury villas
The Nalaguraidhoo Island of the Maldives is one of the most sublime coastal landscapes you'll ever lay eyes, what with...
If you are looking for serenity and tranquillity coupled with luxurious elegance, then Adaaran Select Meedhupparu is the...
Venture to the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives islands to experience a holiday like no other. This section of the...
Fun Island offers a wonderful blend of ‘Fun and Sun’. The Massive lagoon of the island provides ideal conditions for a...
Escape from day-to-day life for a while and take refuge in the Asian paradise of the Maldives while you spend 8 days...
The island of Bandos is a perfect setting for that romantic getaway or those two weeks of bliss away from work. The...