Belize Coral Bleaching Event

Extensive coral bleaching occurred on the reef  near Ambergris Caye in 2009.  Species affected include boulder coral, lettuce leaf, finger coral, shallow water starlet and brain.  The vast majority of damaged coral has recovered.  Agaricia and Porites porites showed permanently dead areas.  Some regions showed a high mortality of about 10% in Montastrea annularis. There appears to be a species shift underway that was much more obvious during the bleaching event.  Montastres faviolata appears to be replacing M. annularis due to its resistance to increased temp.  No colonies of M. faviolata were found to be bleached although they were beside M. annularis.