Localized bleaching and quick recovery in Hong Kong's coral communities

James Y. Xie, Yip Hung Yeung, Chun Kit Kwok, Keith Kei, Put Ang, Leo Lai Chan, Chi Chiu Cheang, Wing kuen Chow, Jianwen QIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


During the summer of 2017 we visited 33 sites with substantial coral cover across Hong Kong waters. At six sites where coral bleaching was observed, video-transect surveys were conducted, which revealed 18.7% to 56.1% bleached colonies and 5.9% to 57.6% bleached coral covered area per site. Mainly affected were three plate-like and three massive coral species. Water quality parameters were analyzed, which indicated that hyposalinity might have triggered the bleaching event. Tagging and follow-up field observation revealed a pattern of recovery depending on coral growth form, with high recovery rates (>93%) at five sites dominated by massive and submassive corals, but moderate (70%) at a site dominated by plate-like corals. Our study shows that the corals of Hong Kong exhibit differential susceptibility to bleaching and ability to recover, therefore it is imperative to establish a long-term monitoring programme to detect the changes in community structure over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110950
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Coral community
  • Coral health
  • Global warming
  • Hyposalinity
  • South China Sea


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