The Health of Great Barrier Reef Is Jeopardized by Bleaching

The Health of Great Barrier Reef Is Jeopardized by Bleaching

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and its partners took to the skies for six hours on Thursday to conduct aerial surveys of water between Cairns and Townsville.

Last year's warm water brought coral bleaching events worldwide, which were made worse by the El Niño climate pattern, according to a story published last year in the Guardian.

Marine biologist and conservation photographer for Greenpeace Brett Monroe Garner filmed the coral on February 20 and in a statement via Greenpeace said, "I've been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented".

It follows pictures of newly bleached coral taken in recent weeks at Moore Reef, near Cairns, by the reef scientist Tyrone Ridgway, as well as by divers further south near Palm Island.

"I've been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented", Monroe Garner said.

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Coral is composed of thousands of small creatures called polyps that can only thrive in a very narrow range of temperatures.

This bleaching highlighted the importance of global action on climate change, Wachenfeld said.

Dr Neal Cantin, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), said the recurrence of widespread coral bleaching in back-to-back summers indicated there was not enough time since 2016's extreme heat event for the corals to fully recover.

"We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals", Cantin said. The Great Barrier Reef bleaching was the most widely publicized aspect of a global coral bleaching event that spread to every ocean basin for three years and counting.

"Many coral species appear to be more susceptible to bleaching after more than 12 months of sustained above-average ocean temperatures", he added.

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In 2015, UNESCO spared the Great Barrier Reef an "in danger" listing. Without the algae in the corals, they can no longer get sufficient food source, so they essentially starve to death. Nearly 22 percent coral had perished in the last year's mass bleaching.

'Just a few months ago, these corals were full of colour and life.

Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel the algae living in their tissues when water is too warm. "In many areas, people are causing declines in coral reefs because of pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction", he said. But as Yahoo noted, there are many other reefs around the world that are experiencing the same bleaching problem.

A report by lawyers at Earthjustice and Environmental Justice Australia, being launched this week in Paris, outlines the worldwide legal responsibilities of nations with World Heritage-listed coral reefs to take action to protect those reefs from the devastating effects of climate change. It requested that Australia deliver an annual report on the reef's health, ensure it meets commitments for greenhouse gas emission reduction as per the Paris Agreement and pledge not to support any development projects that might harm the reef.

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