Surviving bleached Barrier Reef coral 'more resilient to heat'

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The Great Barrier Reef fared higher throughout an oceanic warmth wave final year than throughout hot climate a year earlier that prompted thousands of miles of corals to bleach, in accordance to research printed Monday that means the massive construction could also be rising extra tolerant to local weather change.

Swathes of coral died or were damaged in the unprecedented successive events, particularly the more heat-susceptible branching corals that are shaped like tables.

Almost 200 coral species in the deeper regions of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef have been found instead of about 30 species previously recorded, pointing to the significant role of the major marine organisms' habitat, according to the latest research.

David Gray/Reuters A ranger inspects the Great Barrier Reef near Lady Elliot Island, Australia.

Hughes says the findings are a "silver lining" for the reef, which has lost half its coral since 2016.

The reef ― a UNESCO World Heritage Website and the most substantial dwelling construction on the planet ― was cooked by overheated seawater in 2016 and once more in 2017, with photographs of sickly white coral horrifying individuals across the globe.

"That surprised us, because if the southern corals had behaved the same way in year two as in year one, we should have seen 20 or 30 percent of them bleach, and they didn't", Hughes told AFP.

"Despite it being actually hotter in 2017, we saw less bleaching because dead corals can't bleach for a second time", he said.

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Hughes has long warned that the Great Barrier, already knocked on its back by warming seas, may not have much fight left.

However, there is cautious optimism among scientists about signs of resilience being shown by some corals to warmer oceans.

The film reveals an underlying lack of co-operation between government, marine research scientists, activists, politicians, indigenous leaders and the general public as being a core factor in the rapid decline of the reef's health.

"This conference is an incredible opportunity for us in the Florida Keys to bring together experts from around the world who are all trying to address a shared problem, and that is threats to our reefs", said Sarah Fangman, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary superintendent.

Although that may offer some hope that reefs can develop resilience to bleaching, a warming climate will put more pressure on reefs in the south as well, according to Professor Hughes.

Link to video and images here.

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