Between the winter and the spring of 2015-2016, the El Niño phenomenon caused the hottest sea surface temperatures ever recorded in recent centuries, leading to bleaching events and massive coral mortality worldwide. The Maldives have been reached by warm water masses (2-3° C above the seasonal average) starting from April till the beginning of June 2016 (Fig. 1). During the 19th Scientific Cruise in Maldives (SCM2016) we thus observed massive phenomena of bleaching and many episodes of coral mortality in all the monitored reefs.
This year, the 20th Scientific Cruise in Maldives (SCM2017) organized by International School for Scientific Diving (ISSD) and Albatros Top Boat, has been conducted from the 7th to 15th of May 2017 between the atolls of North Malé, South Malé and Ari and allowed verifying the effects of the thermal anomaly on the Maldivian coral reefs.