Great Barrier Reef in trouble (again)

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The amazing Aussie watery world heritage site that is the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of ‘complete ecosystem collapse’ , according to citizen science program Coral Watch.

I last blogged about the Great Barrier Reef in June 2013 – ‘Australia hasn’t done enough to stop UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’, a new report by conservationists says.’

Things haven’t improved. Reports including in The Guardian would suggest they are perhaps worse….

Scientist Justin Marshall reports : “Complete ecosystem collapse” is being seen on parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as fish numbers tumble and surviving corals continue to bleach into winter….“The lack of fish was the most shocking thing…Coral and other organisms like anemones and giant clams bleach when water temperatures are too high for too long. When they become stressed, they expel their colourful symbiotic algae that provide them with energy, becoming pale or white. Unless the water temperatures quickly return to normal, many of those organisms die.

Lizard Island was particularly badly hit by the global bleaching event that hit every major reef region in the world and killed almost a quarter of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. But, in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, between Lizard Island and the Torres Strait, a majority of the coral is thought to have died.

The mass bleaching this year was driven by climate change, which raised water temperatures close to the maximum threshold coral could stand

They (the corals) are just holding on by the fingernails,” he said.

Education programmes – see NAEE for examples – are a good measure, but our action to battle climate change will better the results.

More info: Coral Watch 

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