Non-climatic stressors for corals in the Gulf

Reef-building corals are increasingly being exposed to persistent threats that operate on both regional and global scales, and there is a need to better understand the complex processes that diminish coral populations.  The majority of the scientific literature on threats to corals were focused on climatic stressors.  There are limited studies that provide perspective on how coral reef habitats are affected by non-climatic stressors (NCS).  This activity focused on collating information on non-climatic stressors on coral reef on the Gulf, particularly three major stressors oil spills, harmful algal blooms, and hurricane induced stress to raise public awareness on how these stressors are contributing to changing the reef habitat composition over the years. Location information of three major NCS stressors namely, spill incidents (oil, chemical, and others), observed red tide events, and hurricane induced stress locations between the years 1970 -2016 where wind speed is higher than 74 mph were compiled to create NCS maps. The intensity of all these incidents was calculated in a 10 arc minute grids across the Gulf to standardize the outputs from the analysis.  NCS vulnerability index was developed to identify locations in the Gulf that are vulnerable to non-climatic stressors for the coral reefs. Read mode about the index and map of coral NCS incidents in the Gulf here.