Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Marine Heatwave Causes Mass Bleaching of New Zealand Sea Sponges

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A major marine heatwave off the southern coast of New Zealand has caused a mass bleaching of sea sponges native to those waters.

This is the first time such a mass bleaching event has been seen in New Zealand, according to Victoria University of Wellington oceanographer James Bell, who told the Independent:

“This could be the start of something really, really bad for other ecosystems.”

The bleachings were seen in Breaksea Sound and Doubtful Sound fjords near Fiordland, according to reports.

Sea temperatures in the area were up to five degrees warmer than normal, according to scientist Rob Smith:

“What we’ve seen this summer is the strongest marine heatwave on the west coast of the South Island in 40 years.”

(Featured image credit: Dr. Valerio Micaroni/Francesca Strano/Victoria University of Wellington)

John Liang
John Lianghttps://www.deeperblue.com/
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.

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