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Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales

Print version ISSN 0370-3908


ROMERO-RODRIGUEZ, Deisy; BERNAL, Gladys  and  ZEA, Sven. Environmental variables during coral bleaching in the Colombian Caribbean. Rev. acad. colomb. cienc. exact. fis. nat. [online]. 2014, vol.38, n.149, pp.347-355. ISSN 0370-3908.

While sea surface temperature has been considered the environmental variable with the greatest impact on coral bleaching, other variables also modify the susceptibility of reefs and generate spatial differences of this phenomenon. In four locations in the Colombian Caribbean, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll, turbidity, flow of rivers, winds and clouds were studied during coral bleaching. Using a principal components and maximum values analysis, we found that bleaching occurred mainly in the second half of the year, at three spatial levels: basin, coastal zone and local. In the coastal reefs, water turbidity by freshwater input was determinant in bleaching, while in the open ocean, temperature was the determinant variable. Thus, macroclimatic phenomena like La Niña influence the occurrence of bleaching near the coast. The data backed the need to increase the frequency of bleaching monitoring and showed that the most exposed areas are El Rosario and San Bernardo islands.

Keywords : Reefs; bleaching; Caribbean.

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