The corals of Kāneʻohe Bay started bleaching 4-6 weeks earlier than NOAA forecasts, and significantly earlier than the 2015 bleaching event (see this post). We believe that what is unfolding in the bay is unprecedented because peak water temperatures are not expected until late October.

HIMB and our collaborators have pooled expertise and resources to create an emergency program to monitor the bleaching event throughout Kāneʻohe Bay. The foundation of the program is large, high-resolution photomosaics of 30 reefs (see graphic; Pizarro et al. 2017). Layered upon these photomosaics are a series of observation efforts spanning multiple scales (see Coordination for layers and layer coordinators).

The most unique feature of the bleaching response program is that we aim to measure these layers every 3-4 weeks in order to capture a time lapse of the bleaching event. We completed one full survey just as the bleaching started. We plan to continue the program for two years in order to track post-bleaching recovery of corals, fishes and other important groups, from genes to geomorphology.

The program has several applied goals:

Go to Coordination for details of layers.