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  • Pacific Island Times News Staff

Eyes of the Reef training to help identify coral reef bleaching

Coral Bleaching in New Caledonia

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that the longest global coral bleaching event on record, which has been impacting reefs around the world for three years, is finally coming to an end. However, Guam’s reefs are still at risk of bleaching.

If you want to help Guam’s coral reefs, you can attend an Eyes of the Reef training session and learn to identify coral bleaching. You can then report it online at

Eyes of the Reef Marianas. Eyes of the Reef is an important part of Guam’s early warning system for coral reefs, as reports from participants allow local scientists and managers to take action quickly and effectively.

The next classroom-based training session is on Wednesday, June 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Piti Church Social Hall. All ages are welcome at these free events and no previous experience is required. There are two more training session scheduled: both are from 6-8 p.m. the first is July 6 at the NOAA Office (same complex as Social Security Office), Tiyan; and the second will be held July 27 at University of Guam Marine Lab, Mangilao.

Coral bleaching occurs when ocean temperatures increase. When waters get too warm, corals spit out the algae that live inside them. Normally, these algae provide corals with most of the energy they need to live. Corals that have lost their algae are sick and look “bleached” because the algae give healthy corals their bright colors.

Although coral bleaching is no longer affecting reefs worldwide, forecasts show that Guam’s reefs may still bleach this year. Guam’s corals experienced bleaching in 2013, 2014, and 2016, and have not had time to recover. Unfortunately, local scientists and coral reef managers are again seeing early signs of bleaching on Guam.

If you are interested in registering for a training or learning more about what you can do to protect Guam’s reefs, visit Eyes of the Reef Marianas, email, or call (671) 646-1905.

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