Paleo Home Research Data Education What's New Features Paleo Perspectives Site Map Mirror Sites National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina navigation bar
Paleo Slide Set: Coral Paleoclimatology:Natural Record of Climate change for High School Student
Erosion of (Pavona), Saboga Island, Panama
The 1982-83 El Niño killed many corals in the eastern Pacific. All or part of the coral colonies bleached and therefore died. In the year following the El Niño, conditions were favorable for the growth and survival of young sea urchins. Unfortunately, sea urchins scrape away the coral skeleton of a reef as they graze on algae. Due to the increase in the sea urchin population, the death of the corals was followed by increased erosion, destroying the reef structure. These two events occurring in succession destroyed corals that might be used to obtain a record of past climate. This slide from Saboga Island, Panama shows the erosion by sea urchins of a coral partially killed in the 1982-83 El Niño. Fifteen years after these events, many reefs in the eastern Pacific are still eroding faster than corals are depositing skeletons.

Photo Credits:
Mark Eakin
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program

Click to View Larger Image
Click on above image to enlarge.

Download a zip file
of a full resolution TIF image

Back to Slide Sets.....

Contact Us March 3, 2002

Paleoclimatology Program Home Page