Mapping of oceanic and coastal environments of the Republic of Mauritius; Component - Ecological survey (incl. bleaching assessment) of nearshore waters of Mauritius

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration (NOAA) had predicted a global coral bleaching episode for 2015-2016 due to an ENSO event, expected to influence the weather and climate patterns in the South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) in the early months of 2016. To register this event on the reefs of Mauritius, the MOI initiated a Bleaching Monitoring Programme in for assessment of the degree of bleaching at its permanent reef study sites around the island. Qualitative and quantitative surveys undertaken at 14 stations around Mauritius, revealed mild to severe bleaching recorded at Bel Ombre (<20%) and Belle Mare (>80%) respectively.

To assess the impacts of 2016’s bleaching event, the MOI is currently undertaking post-bleaching surveys at its permanent monitoring stations.  Selected sites are being revisited for quantitative assessment of the degree of mortality (if any) of previously bleached coral colonies.  At these sites, physico-chemical parameters including in-situ temperature and water quality are also monitored.