Scientists: Great Barrier Reef Has Lost More Than Half Its Corals


Researchers at the ARC Center for Coral Studies in Queensland, northeastern Australia, estimated the coral communities and their colony size along the length of the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017 and that nearly all coral populations were declining, they said on Tuesday.

On 8 May 2019, we contacted the Australian Department of Home Affairs to make The Great Barrier Reef a living, breathing Aussie citizen.

Coral bleaching occurs, among other things, when the sea becomes warmer than normal, as a result of climate change.

"These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017", Hughes said.

But people should not feel hopeless about the future of coral reefs, he said, even as they wait for world leaders to take more aggressive steps to curb the effects of climate change.

"Our results show the Great Barrier Reef's ability to rehabilitate - its flexibility - has been compromised compared to the past, as there are fewer children and fewer reproductive adults", he added.

Professor Terry Hughes - of Australia's James Cook University - is the co author of a study that surveyed coral along the length of the reef from 1995 to 2017.

Coral reefs contain incredible biodiversity, but as the planet continues to warm, the majority of their faces disappear.

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"Corals are tremendously resilient due to their capacity to produce millions of babies but they/we desperately need a break from disturbances", Andreas Dietzel, a professor at the ARC Center and a co-author of the paper, said in an email to the Washington Post.

ThinkStock PhotosThe southern part of Great Barrier Reef was exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020. Now, a new study has put a firm figure on just how much of the reef has been lost over the past 25 years. In a shocking new study published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Australian researchers released a census of Great Barrier Reef coral colonies.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change is the greatest global threat to coral reefs, because high ocean temperatures cause mass coral bleaching events, during which coral polyps expel algae from their tissues, turning completely white.

He also says that he is very anxious that the time intervals between the incidents have become so short lately.

"There is no time to lose - we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP".

On top of long-term ocean warming and associated bleaching, the reef has been battered by several cyclones and two outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat the coral, since 1995.

The Great Barrier Reef covers approximately 133,000 square miles.

A 2018 United Nations report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels found that up to 90 percent of coral reefs would be lost by 2050.