18. Coral Bleaching

The Roles of Sea Temperature and Solar Radiation

  1. Cheryl M. Woodley,
  2. Craig A. Downs,
  3. Andrew W. Bruckner,
  4. James W. Porter and
  5. Sylvia B. Galloway
  1. Barbara E. Brown and
  2. Richard P. Dunne

Published Online: 16 OCT 2015

DOI: 10.1002/9781118828502.ch18

Diseases of Coral

Diseases of Coral

How to Cite

Brown, B. E. and Dunne, R. P. (2015) Coral Bleaching, in Diseases of Coral (eds C. M. Woodley, C. A. Downs, A. W. Bruckner, J. W. Porter and S. B. Galloway), John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ. doi: 10.1002/9781118828502.ch18

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 OCT 2015
  2. Published Print: 2 OCT 2015

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780813824116

Online ISBN: 9781118828502



  • antioxidant activity;
  • coral bleaching;
  • sea temperature;
  • solar radiation;
  • stress proteins


This chapter illustrates the importance of solar radiation as a major factor in the bleaching of corals when sea temperatures are elevated, as well as acting alone at normal temperature. It looks at the way temperature and solar radiation combine to elicit bleaching and examines the different roles that each may play in the bleaching process. The chapter addresses a common trend in many publications that downplay the role of solar radiation in mass bleaching events and proposes that a better mechanistic understanding improves not only the appreciation of the process but also the ability of the coral symbiosis to adjust its physiology in the future. One of the main findings of work described in the chapter is the high level of oxidative damage caused by exposure of corals to high solar radiation and the initiation of significant antioxidant activity by corals under such conditions, together with stress protein production.