Coral bleaching in the Caramuanas reef (Todos os Santos Bay, Brazil) during the 2010 El Niño event
Episodes of coral bleaching related to El Niño events have been increasing in frequency and severity. This phenomenon is cited as a major cause of degradation of coral reefs. This study evaluates the effects of coral bleaching on the Caramuanas reef community, which occurred during the southern hemisphere summer of 2009/2010. Within this period the sea surface temperature of 31°C and thermal anomalies up to almost 1°C were recorded. During and after this El Niño event, frequency and severity of bleaching, live coral cover, number of colonies, class size, disease occurrence, and mortality rate were monitored on corals larger than 20 cm in diameter. The samples were taken at twelve fixed transects, in three reef stations. Statistical analysis showed that the severity of bleaching was different between the two periods, during and after the 2010 ENSO event. The Caramuanas reef showed sublethal bleaching effects indicating that this reef is tolerant to bleaching when the temperature anomalies do not exceed 0.75°C within one week.