Coastal News

Hurricane Effects on Coral Reefs: Active Hurricane Season Could Devastate Coral Reefs

Coastal coral reefs are essential to the survival of marine life, playing a crucial role in protecting our shorelines, and providing important recreational resources for diving and fishing, making their health and conservation even more crucial.

With hurricane season in full swing, strong hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean pose a significant impact on the health of coral reefs. ANGARI Foundation has supported scientists from the Perry Institute for Marine Science to study and research the impacts of hurricanes on coral reefs in The Bahamas.

Hurricanes produce strong swells that scrape away the coral’s protective algae, leaving reefs vulnerable to being smothered by settling sand, burned by the sun, and physically damaged. The short-term impacts hurricanes have on coral reef systems include the removal of algae and the cooling of ocean temperatures, which can provide temporary relief from bleaching. The long-term impacts include the breaking, dislodging, and burying of corals, which physically destroys the coral reef system and inhibits animal survival. Hurricanes can place extra stress on already struggling or at-risk reefs. Suspended sediments settling on corals and the blocking of sunlight over a prolonged period from Dorian caused reef bleaching on many Bahamian reefs.

ANGARI Foundation studied Hurricane Dorian’s impact on coral reefs with Craig Dahlgren, surveying reefs around Grand Bahama Island and Abaco in The Bahamas. The research found that coral reef damage varied from one site to the next but was significant in many portions of the system and will take decades to recover. The blocking of direct sunlight and the sediments dispersed from Dorian caused reef bleaching throughout the coral system. Dahlgren and ANGARI Foundation will continue their expeditions together in support of reef research.


ECO Magazine is a marine science trade publication committed to bringing scientists and professionals the latest ground-breaking research, industry news, and job opportunities from around the world.


8502 SW Kansas Ave
Stuart, FL 34997

Newsletter Signup

The ECO Newsletter is a weekly email featuring the Top 10 stories of the past seven days, providing readers with a convenient way to stay abreast on the latest ocean science and industry news.