Local bleaching thresholds established by remote sensing techniques vary among reefs with deviating bleaching patterns during the 2012 event in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

Dawood Shuail, Jörg Wiedenmann, Cecilia D'Angelo, Andrew H. Baird, Morgan S. Pratchett, Bernhard Riegl, John Burt, Peter Petrov, Carl Amos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A severe bleaching event affected coral communities off the coast of Abu Dhabi, UAE in August/September, 2012. In Saadiyat and Ras Ghanada reefs ~. 40% of the corals showed signs of bleaching. In contrast, only 15% of the corals were affected on Delma reef. Bleaching threshold temperatures for these sites were established using remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) data recorded by MODIS-Aqua. The calculated threshold temperatures varied between locations (34.48 °C, 34.55 °C, 35.05 °C), resulting in site-specific deviations in the numbers of days during which these thresholds were exceeded. Hence, the less severe bleaching of Delma reef might be explained by the lower relative heat stress experienced by this coral community. However, the dominance of Porites spp. that is associated with the long-term exposure of Delma reef to elevated temperatures, as well as the more pristine setting may have additionally contributed to the higher coral bleaching threshold for this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-659
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 30 2016



  • Coral bleaching
  • Coral reefs
  • Extreme environment
  • Global change
  • Symbiodinium
  • Threshold temperature
  • Zooxanthellae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

Cite this