The Great Barrier Reef is struggling to revive from climate change-led destruction

  • The habitat of the corals has been suffering ever since the occurrence of mass bleaching that hit the reefs in two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017.
  • Several adult corals died following ocean heat waves that resulted in mass bleaching and the new corals are not able to settle in the ecosystem.
  • "Dead corals don't make babies." said the co-author of the study.

The biggest coral reef on earth, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, is finding it tough to recover from the habitat destruction brought about by rising ocean temperatures.

Global warming-led mass ‘bleaching’ events killed off a huge chunk of adult corals in the past few years, leading to a dramatic drop in the birth of new corals, according to a study published in Nature magazine. The phenomenon of bleaching happens when colorful algae sticking the corals turn white due to heat.

"The number of new corals settling on the Great Barrier Reef declined by 89% following the unprecedented loss of adult corals from global warming in 2016 and 2017," said Terry Hughes, lead author of the study.

"Dead corals don't make babies." added Hughes, warning the only way for the reef to survive would be bringing down global temperatures by cutting greenhouse emissions.

The Great Barrier Reef, home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of molluscs, annually contributes about $4.56 billion to the economies of Australia and the state of Queensland, where it is located.

While coral reefs have been subject to bleaching events going back two decades, this is the first time that researchers have observed the crumbling ecosystem process in a marine environment, Andrew Baird, a co-author of the study told the New York Times.

The Great Barrier Reef, located on Australia’s east coast, covers 133,000 square miles and can be seen from outer space.

( With IANS)
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