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The Petri Dish: Climate Change Impacting Heavily on Coral Reef Systems

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The Petri Dish


KUALA LUMPUR, (The Petri Dish) – WITH the ever-increasing impact of climate change, people are aware but tend to overlook the extend of threats inflicted on a certain life form housed by the ocean – especially our coral reefs.


Commonly known as a sensitive ecosystem, the charismatic and colourful coral reefs are easily affected by changes in their surroundings such as light intensity and nutrient availability, with thermal stress being its greatest foe. 

Dr Wee Hin Boo, a Research Fellow on marine science at Institute of Climate Change, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) recently told The Petri Dish that Malaysia is a part of the coalition of the Coral Triangle which has one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world.

Wee said: “Coral reefs, even though they only comprise two percent of the total area of the sea floor, they house around a quarter of all the marine diversity. Furthermore, 50-70% of the diversity of coral reefs resides within the Coral Triangle region.”

Nevertheless, as diverse as they are, coral reefs required a stable environment to thrive. With the increase of sea surface temperature due to climate change, reef-building hard corals, the building blocks of coral reefs, will be in constant stress or die en masse. This will cause the collapse of the invaluable coral reef ecosystem.

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