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, Jian-Wen QIU

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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. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110950
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Early online dateFeb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


Xie, J. Y., Yeung, Y. H., Kwok, C. K., Kei, K., Ang, P., Chan, L. L., . . . Qiu, J.-W. (2020). Localized bleaching and quick recovery in Hong Kong's coral communities. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 153. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.110950


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


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