great barrier reef tagged posts

Can dive tourism help save the Great Barrier Reef?

Dozens of small coral fragments are anchored to a man-made underwater frame, suspended just a few metres below the surface on the Great Barrier Reef. The pieces of staghorn coral are only a few centimetres long at best, but represent something much greater than what I can see. My divemaster Russel Hosp holds up a sign underwater to communicate.

“We call these fragments of opportunity,” it reads. 

I’m diving at a coral nursery with Passions of Paradise, an eco-certified operator which departs from Cairns daily to take guests out to dive and snorkel the famous reef and one of 13 operators certified as carbon-neutral...

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Record coral cover doesn’t mean the Great Barrier Reef is in good health

In what seems like excellent news, coral cover in parts of the Great Barrier Reef is at a record high, according to new data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. But this doesn’t necessarily mean our beloved reef is in good health. In the north of the reef, coral cover usually fluctuates between 20% and 30%. Currently, it’s at 36%, the highest level recorded since monitoring began more than three decades ago.

This level of coral cover comes hot off the back of a disturbing decade that saw the reef endure six mass coral bleaching events, four severe tropical cyclones, active outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, and water quality impacts following floods. So what’s going on?

High coral cover findings can be deceptive because they can result from only a few dominant...

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91% of reefs surveyed on Great Barrier Reef affected by coral bleaching in 2022

Coral bleaching occurs when water is too warm, causing corals to expel the algae living in their tissues and turn completely white -- often killing the cora

Coral bleaching affected 91% of reefs surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef this year, according to a report by government scientists that confirms the natural landmark has suffered its sixth mass bleaching event on record. The Reef snapshot: summer 2021-22, quietly published by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on Tuesday night after weeks of delay, said above-average water temperatures in late summer had caused coral bleaching throughout the 2,300km reef system, but particularly in the central region between Cape Tribulation and the Whitsundays.

“The surveys confirm a mass bleaching event, with coral bleaching observed at multiple reefs in all regions,” a statement accompanying the report said...

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Dead coral found at Great Barrier Reef as widespread bleaching event unfolds

Dead corals are being recorded in aerial surveys across the Great Barrier Reef in what the marine park’s chief scientist says is a widespread and serious bleaching event on the world heritage icon. Aerial surveys have covered half of the 2,300km reef, with the worst bleaching observed in the park’s central region off Townsville, where corals on some reefs are dead and dying. The unfolding bleaching comes ahead of a 10-day UN monitoring mission to the reef due to start on Monday.

Leading reef scientist Prof Terry Hughes said this week a sixth mass bleaching event was now unfolding on the reef, adding to events in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

Dr David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, told Guardian Australia: “There is certainly a risk we ar...

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Scientists brace for Great Barrier Reef bleaching

A searing late summer heatwave has sent the Great Barrier Reef into the red zone for risk, with scientists warning that high sea surface temperatures could have already caused coral bleaching across vast areas. The reef covers about 350,000 square kilometres, larger than the UK and Ireland combined. It’s so vast and remote that the agencies which monitor its health won’t know how much bleaching has occurred until they have completed systematic aerial surveys, due by the end of March.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief scientist David Wachenfeld said reports of minor to moderate coral bleaching, at locations scattered across the reef, had been coming in for months and now, following the heatwave, he said “the question is how bad will it get and over how big an area?“...

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‘Crisis’: Climate panel flags Great Barrier Reef devastation

This photo provided by Ava Shearer shows her scuba diving at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 2020

It was the silence of the sea that first rattled the teenage snorkeler, followed by a sense of horror as she saw the coral below had been drained of its kaleidoscopic color. This once-vibrant site on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — a site she’d previously likened to a busy capital city — had become a ghost town, the victim of yet another mass bleaching event.

On that day in 2020, Ava Shearer got out of the water and cried. Today, with the release of a United Nations climate report that paints a dire picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s future, the now-17-year-old marine science student and snorkeling guide wonders what will be left of the imperiled ecosystem by the time she finishes her degree at Australia’s James Cook University.

“I definitely worry about it,” says Shea...

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Great Barrier Reef – Possible Fourth Mass Bleaching in 7 Years.

Bleached coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas on Feb. 20, 2017.

Corals across the Great Barrier Reef could be hit by mass bleaching for the fourth time in just seven years by the end of January, experts warn. By the third week of January, an 800 mile section of the Great Barrier Reef will likely be undergoing a bleaching event, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data shows.

NOAA forecasts also show that by mid-February, areas north of Cairns in Queensland will be at ‘Alert Level 2’ – where both widespread bleaching and significant coral mortality are likely. 

Chances of coral bleaching are higher during the warmer seasons, which is why Australian scientists are on high alert during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.  

Coral bleaching killed about 30 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral in 2016, according to ...

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In just 30 years, marine heatwaves have turned the Great Barrier Reef into a bleached checkerboard

Just 2% of the Great Barrier Reef remains untouched by bleaching since 1998 and 80% of individual reefs have bleached severely once, twice or three times since 2016, our new study revealed on November 4. We measured the impacts of five marine heatwaves on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades: in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020. We found these bouts of extreme temperatures have transformed it into a checkerboard of bleached reefs with very different recent histories.

Whether we still have a functioning Great Barrier Reef in the decades to come depends on how much higher we allow global temperatures to rise. The bleaching events we have already seen in recent years are a result of the world warming by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

World leaders meetin...

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How the Great Barrier Reef, victim of climate change, can be a solution

The 2,300-km Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its corals as a consequence of rising ocean temperatures due to global warming. The reef also suffered two mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Given the damage, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee had proposed that the Great Barrier Reef be put under ‘in danger’ category. However, the Australian government, on July 23, managed to avoid a downgrade of the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status after a concerted lobbying effort by Canberra.

Now, the Australian government will have to submit an updated progress report in 2022. It is being said that Australia didn’t want the ‘in danger’ status for the Great Barrier Reef—which draws a huge tourist turnout every year—as it might affect the post-pandemic visitors.

But tha...

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Great Barrier Reef: UNESCO defends ‘in danger’ declaration

Great Barrier Reef

There is “irrefutable and indisputable” scientific evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is deteriorating due to climate change, UNESCO has said, as it pushed back against the Morrison government’s fury over its move to declare the natural wonder endangered. UNESCO oceans specialist Fanny Douvere has also rejected Australia’s claims that it was denied due process or the target of a politically motivated attack, insisting its draft recommendation to list the reef “in danger” was based on an objective assessment of the best available science. 

Dr Douvere’s comments came as the federal government continues to cry foul over the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s draft ruling, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday morning lashing the decision-making process as “appalling”


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