great barrier reef tagged posts

Great Barrier Reef has deteriorated to ‘critical’ level due to climate change

A coral reef impacted by a severe bleaching event

The conservation status for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has declined from “significant concern” to “critical” due to increasing impacts associated with climate change, a new report has found.

The damage to the reef is a result of ocean warming, acidification and extreme weather, which has resulted in coral bleaching, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2020 World Heritage Outlook report, which tracks whether the conservation of the world’s 252 natural World Heritage sites is sufficient to protect them in the long term. The process of coral bleaching occurs when water is too warm and the algae the corals expel from their tissues cause them to turn completely white.

The decline of the coral has also resulted in decreasing populations of cert...

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Coral reef taller than the Empire State building found in Australia

Our environment has taken a serious beating over the past few decades, with climate change accelerating at an unprecedented pace. However, in some good news coming from the natural world, scientists have just discovered a massive chunk of coral reef off the Australian coast.

On Oct.20, a vast, detached coral reef was found in the Great Barrier Reef, the first in more than 120 years. 

At more than 1,640 feet (500m) — higher than the Empire State Building — the reef was found by a team on a year-long exploration of the waters surrounding Australia. 

The reef was discovered by Australian research scientists on board the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor while mapping the seafloor of the northern Great Barrier Reef. 

The base of the blade-like reef is 1...

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Rowley Shoals: The bleached Australian reef and a Covid challenge

Coral bleaching was detected in a usually healthy reef off Australia’s north-western coast earlier this year.

But due to Covid lockdown rules, the discovery presented scientists with a challenge.

How could they survey the reef without being able to travel there?

Video by Isabelle Rodd

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Can Yoghurt Save the Great Barrier Reef

Science Times reported on April that the Great Barrier Reef underwent its third major bleaching event in the last five years. The reef experienced back-to-back coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017 that killed almost half the reef’s corals. But bleaching does not necessarily mean that it is already dead, according to Terry Hughes director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. This only means that the coral needs help for it to recover.

Now, the scientists believe that probiotics similar to those found in yoghurt can boost the health of the corals to help it withstand the heat stress.

An international team made the breakthrough of using probiotics to help the Great Barrier Reef soon after it weathered on its third major bleaching in five years.


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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffers most extensive coral bleaching

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffered its most extensive coral bleaching event in March, with scientists fearing the coral recovers less each time after the third bleaching in five years. February 2020 was the hottest month on record since records began in 1900, Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, told Reuters.

“We saw record-breaking temperatures all along the length of the Great Barrier Reef, there wasn’t a cool portion in the north, or a cool portion in the south this time around,” Hughes said.

“The whole Barrier Reef was hot so the bleaching we have seen this year is the most extensive so far.”

Hughes added that he is now almost certain that the Reef is not going to recover to what it looked like even f...

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Healthy coral reefs need fish mix to survive

A coral reef in the Similan Islands

A new study from The University of Western Australia has revealed clear evidence highlighting the importance of fish biodiversity to the health of tropical coral reef ecosystems. This is the case for reefs that are pristine and also those that have been affected by stresses, such as bleaching events caused by warming oceans.

However, the study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, showed that even though strong relationships between diversity and a healthy ecosystem persist, human-driven pressures of warming oceans and invasive species still diminish ecosystems in various ways.

A team of researchers from UWA and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom conducted surveys on coral reefs around 10 islands in the remote Chagos Archipelago – the largest uninhabited and unfished coral re...

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More than half of remote reefs in Coral Sea marine park suffered extreme bleaching

Coral bleaching caused by climate change

More than half of the spectacular and remote coral reefs beyond the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef suffered severe bleaching this summer, an underwater scientific expedition has found. Several reefs in the vast Coral Sea marine park known among divers for their arrays of corals, large fish and precipitous drop offs into the deep ocean suffered extreme bleaching. Scientists from James Cook University’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies recorded the bleaching on the reefs that are more than 200km offshore during dives in February and March.

Some reefs had 90% of their shallow water corals bleached – an extreme level likely to lead to deaths of many corals, said Prof Andrew Hoey, a co-ordinator of the expedition.

Hoey said: “It’s becoming too familiar to jump in to t...

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Great Barrier Reef hit by third major bleaching event in five years

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

The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its most widespread coral bleaching event, according to scientists who say record warm temperatures and warming oceans are threatening its fragile corals. The entire Great Barrier Reef and some of its surrounding areas are facing an unprecedented period of heat stress in what is the third major bleaching event in only the past five years. Heat-induced bleaching can occur periodically, but scientists say climate change is causing the destructive events to happen more frequently, which is particularly troubling because corals don’t have enough time to recover and grow back.

The reef’s last major bleaching event occurred in 2017, and scientists weren’t expecting another one so soon, said Mark Eakin, coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad...

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GBR bleaching concerns after hottest month on record

Arial view of Great Barrier Reef

A cyclone in the Coral Sea has helped to ease widespread coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, an expert said, after the marine park weathered its hottest month of sea temperatures on record.

The BOM forecast a tropical cyclone would form off the north Queensland coast over the weekend, and that severe weather over the central and north Queensland coasts would ease.

“The (sea) temperatures have dropped quite suddenly because of this weather system,” said Professor Terry Hughes from the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies.

The cooler change comes at a critical time for the health of the reef.

Figures produced by the BOM showed sea surface temperatures in the marine park in February were hotter than in any month since 1900 — and hotter even than during the record bleaching e...

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GBR Could Soon See Third Mass Coral Bleaching in Five Years

Australian scientists and conservationists warned in the Guardian Thursday that the Great Barrier Reef could soon endure a third major coral bleaching event in just five years, highlighting how the human-caused climate crisis is already devastating crucial ecosystems worldwide.

Rising ocean temperatures – largely driven by human activities that produce climate-heating emissions, particularly fossil fuel extraction and use – have caused coral across the globe to bleach and die in recent years. Scientists concluded in 2018 that back-to-back marine heatwaves in 2016 and 2017 left the Great Barrier Reef “forever damaged.”

Bleached coral – which has expelled its main food source and turned white because of stressors such as warm water or pollution – is at greater risk of death but can recover i...

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