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Coral reefs bleached. (Oceania).



Australia and Oceania -- Coral reefs around Australia and Pacific islands are suffering one of the worst episodes of bleaching on record. The Australian Institute of Marine Science The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a state-of-the-art tropical marine research centre located primarily at Cape Ferguson, 50km south of Townsville in North Queensland, Australia. It was established in 1972, by the Commonwealth of Australia. , CRC (Cyclical Redundancy Checking) An error checking technique used to ensure the accuracy of transmitting digital data. The transmitted messages are divided into predetermined lengths which, used as dividends, are divided by a fixed divisor.  Reef, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects a large part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef from activities that would damage it. Fishing and the removal of artifacts or wildlife (fish, coral, sea shells etc) is strictly regulated, and commercial shipping traffic must stick to  Authority surveyed more than 640 reefs along the west coast of Australia with light aircraft and found that nearly 60 percent of the reef area inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was affected. There have also been reports of bleached, dead coral across much of the South Pacific, including Tahiti, the Cook Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji.

Bleaching, a response to heat stress in the coral, causes the coral polyps to expel their symbiotic algae algae (ăl`jē) [plural of Lat. alga=seaweed], a large and diverse group of primarily aquatic plantlike organisms. These organisms were previously classified as a primitive subkingdom of the plant kingdom, the thallophytes (plants that , which provide them with nutrients and give them their color. Some corals can recover by recapturing the algae, but others cannot. Of the most severely bleached reefs surveyed, 50 to 90 percent of the corals were dead.

The bleaching is an expected response to the record high sea temperatures recorded during early 2002. According to Thomas Goreau, president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA that partners with local reef communities around the world to protect coral reefs. CORAL was founded in Berkeley, CA in 1994 by Stephan Colwell,[1]  in Chappaqua, New York and adviser to the United Nations Environment Programme, almost all the Great Barrier Reef's surface water was 2[degrees]C or more above normal for more than two months from early 3anuary to mid-March. This was hotter and longer than the bleaching episode that wiped out corals in the Maldives, Seychelles, and western Australia in 1998.

The higher surface sea temperatures are attributed to a new El Nino, although it is widely believed that global warming is the key underlying factor and the El Nino event the final coup de grace coup de grâce  
n. pl. coups de grâce
1. A deathblow delivered to end the misery of a mortally wounded victim.

2. A finishing stroke or decisive event.
.

New Scientist, April 2; Environmental News Service, May 23
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Publication:Earth Island Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 22, 2002
Words:280
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