"As concerns grow over the condition of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which has endured widespread coral bleaching in the past several years, scientists are finding similar damage on reefs all over the world, including in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Now, a recent expedition to the Chagos Archipelago, a collection of at least 60 small islands in the Indian Ocean, has revealed devastating coral bleaching and coral death there, too.
“In shallow water, above 15 meters and in places down to 20 meters, we’ve seen a lot of coral mortality — probably somewhere in the region of 90 percent,” said John Turner, a professor at Bangor University in Wales, who led the recent expedition. “It’s a very upsetting thing to see, when these reefs have developed so well, and to see them being essentially reset, if you’d like.”
The reef is believed to have suffered back-to-back bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, Turner told The Washington Post. These events were brought on by unusually warm conditions, likely influenced by climate change and an unusually severe El Niño effect in 2015. Scientists have found that coral reefs all over the world have been affected by these conditions, though not all have fared as badly as those in the Chagos area or the Great Barrier Reef."
Chelsea Harvey reports for the Washington Post May 16, 2017.