Typhoon Bopha Decimated Coral Reefs
Author: Jeremy Hance
January 24, 2013
When Typhoon Bopha, also known as Pablo, ran ashore on Mindanao, it was the largest tropical storm it ever hit the Philippine island. In its wake the massive superstorm left over 1,000 people were dead and 6.2 million affected with officials saying illegal logging and mining worsened the scale of the disaster. However, the Category 5 typhoon also left a trail of destruction that has been less reported: coral reefs.
"At our sites coral species exposed to the typhoon have been destroyed, broken, and displaced," Pierre Fidenci, the head of Endangered Species International (ESI) told mongabay.com. "Some young massive species have been turned down and displaced by the intense underwater movement. It is incredible to see the damages, we often look at land damages, but underwater ones are massive. We have found that young corals, especially the one recovering from past human impacts (fishing and sedimentation) have been completed wiped out after the typhoon."
The ESI has found that 80 percent of coral cover has been lost as two of the sites they monitor—out of five across the Coral Triangle. Fidenci notes that delicate coral, such as those in the Acropora and Millepora genus, were most particularly impacted, while stony coral, like Porites, fared better.
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