Forest Loss: our atoll suffered badly in 2015. In late-January we got overwashed, all year we had salt-laden winds and limited rainfall.

Many trees lost their leaves and were unable to get rid of excess salt. High tides reached the bushes. Some motu had no rain for six months. Every survey we found more collapsed trees. It was very hot after midday ~ challenging to stay in the sun for  more than 5 minutes.

Coral bleaching: 2015 is the hottest year so far, and December 2015 the hottest month since records began in 1880. We found the first coral bleaching on 21st December.

As sea temperature rises corals become stressed and expel the tiny symbiotic algae living inside their tissues. These zooxanthellae give corals their bright colours, so ejecting them leaves the white calcium skeleton ~ we call this impact 'bleaching'.



June 2016: at last we are getting some coral recovery, after five months the lagoon temperaturedropped to around 30 C, which was most welcome. We've seen new growth and colour coming back to the corals, presumably taking in zooxanthellae again.

Take a look on the Downloads Page to find a short publication

TMB6 - Too hot in Paradise!

This was published in April 2016 by The Marine Biologist and describes the events that unfolded at Tongareva caused by climate change