Across the world, coral reefs are declining as a direct result of human interference. As the global climate continues to shift, these fragile, underwater habitats bear mass disturbances such as increased storms, mass bleaching events, and crown of thorn outbreaks. Unlike many reefs worldwide, coral reefs in Palau have been fortunate not to face any mass-disturbances from 1998 to 2012.
In a study published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, PICRC researcher Marine Gouezo and her colleagues from Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Southern Cross University, Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, were able to determine that it takes around 9 to 12 years for coral reefs to completely recover in the absence of large-scale disturbances
Understanding coral recovery has been a challenge due to insufficient long-term data and the frequency of disturbances. This study is one of few that have been able to track complete coral recovery expanding over 14 years free from any mass disturbance.