Record Coral Bleaching Observed at Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia's Great Barrie Reef's images in time span

Mass Coral Bleaching

World’s largest coral reef system known as The Great Barrier Reef is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2300 kilometers over an area of around 344400 square kilometers but it’s too is not left effected of raising environmental pressures. The environmental pressures like runoff and climate change enhances the mass coral bleaching, dumping of dredging sludge and cyclic population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. As per a study published in October 2012, the reef has lost more than half of its coral cover since 1985.

From the recent surveys done by government scientists, it’s found out that hard coral cover in the northern stretch of Great Barrier Reef is near record low whereas the southern stretch is in decline condition. As per the researchers of Australian Institute of Marine Science, “Hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% which has a slight increase as compared to last year but close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985”.

Chief Executive Officer of Australian Institute of Marine Science, Paul Hardisty said that “The Great Barrier Reef is still beautiful and it is resilient but it is facing unprecedented challenges”.

The percentage of baby corals being born on the Great Barrier Reef dropped drastically in 2018 and scientists are describing it as the early stage of a “huge natural selection event unfolding”. The reason behind low birth of new corals is that many of the mature breeding adults died in the bleaching events of 2016-2017 and thus could not produce offspring. This mass bleaching of coral had happened due to increase in ocean heat during 2016-2017. If we talk in terms of record, 30% of coral reef was died after 2016 heat wave alone.

AIMS head of this long term monitoring, Mike Emslie said that “the report included glimmers of hope: individual reefs, including those on the outer shelf in Whitsunday Islands, were found to have lively communities and tiny juvenile corals were discovered across the 2300 km reef system. The density of juvenile coral suggested recovery was possible if there were no further disturbances”.

This report buzzed an alarm for the government that it’s high time and they should do something valuable to address climate change because the environmental pressure of climate change is warming up the oceans which concludes to have a devastating effect on coral reefs.

Emsile also said that “the reefs southern section had escaped the worst effects of coral bleaching and cyclone since 2009 but has affected by severe outbreak of crown-of –thorns starfish since 2017. Crown-of-thorns feed on coral and spawns so rapidly that it is difficult to tackle once it takes hold. Its spread has been linked to nitrogen from fertilizer and pesticides in agricultural runoff”.

If this alarm too left unheard, then the day is not so far that 99% of corals all across the globe will be lost. So it’s high time to address the crisis of climate change.

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