KISR Observes Coral Bleaching in Qaruh and Umm Al-Maradim Islands
In collaboration with the Kuwait Oil Company, KISR’s team assigned to study coral reefs conducted a comprehensive marine survey of coral reefs in Qaruh and Umm Al-Maradim Islands. The team observed a 30% bleaching of various types of coral reefs in Qaruh, and 45% bleaching of the same in Umm Al-Maradim. Porites coral is the most affected of all the types, as 70% of it was bleached in both the islands; however, this type was not totally affected in Kubbar Island.
KISR is studying the effect of the unusual increase of temperatures on coral reefs, which Kuwait is currently going through. This study is being conducted through a joint national project between KISR and the KOC to rehabilitate coral reefs in Kubbar Island.
The fact that coral reefs are not affected of bleaching in Kubbar Island is attributed to the level of water mudding, which limits the direct effect of sunshine, and temperature increase. As for the increase of level of bleaching in Umm El-Maradim, it resulted from the establishing of the port on the island, which caused changes in water currents that led to heavy accumulation of sand on the coral reefs at the north of the port. The accumulation of sand might reach a meter; such sands negatively affect coral’s safety and health. Thus, coral exert considerable effort to survive, which weakens its immunity system in facing urgent external factors, such as this year’s temperature increase.