We propose an in situ experiment that will measure the impact of cloud cover, water turbidity, solar radiation (UV and PAR) and water temperature on the amount of coral reef bleaching by answering the following questions:
Question 1: How do cloud cover, water turbidity, and solar radiation (UV & PAR) affect the amount of coral reef bleaching?
Hypothesis: Increased cloud cover increases the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere and increased water turbidity increases the amount of particles in water. Aerosols and particles scatter solar radiation, so increased levels of aerosols and water particles will lower the amount of damaging radiation that reaches the coral. We hypothesize that the least coral reef bleaching will be found in the high cloud cover and high water turbidity conditions with no UV. We hypothesize that the most coral reef bleaching will be found in the low cloud cover and low water turbidity conditions with UV.
Question 2: How does water temperature impact the amount of coral reef bleaching
Hypothesis: Higher water temperature will be associated with the more coral reef bleaching.