Two thirds hit by coral bleaching
Scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies recorded severe coral bleaching for the second time in 12 months after surveying the Great Barrier Reef's entire 2,300km-long (1,500) miles ecosystem. Given the right conditions-and at least 10 years-coral reefs can recover from coral bleaching events, if temperatures are stabilized or environmental stressors like pollutants are removed.
The 2016 survey of the reef had revealed bleaching to be most severe in the northern third of the Reef, but within one year, the middle third of the reef has been found to have experienced the most severe coral bleaching.
The bleaching has affected a 1,500km stretch of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on Earth, with only its southern third unaffected.
"The most common cause of coral bleaching is when water temperatures rise causing coral to expel symbiotic micro algae called zooxanthellae", Director of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science Peter Steinberg told Xinhua.
"In addition, the impacts of recent severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and resulting flooding in the catchment, have placed greater pressure on the reef potentially adding to coral loss", he said in a statement.
Corals bleach when the water warms to a temperature above what they can tolerate. Prof. Hughes argued that the sooner authorities and environmentalists act upon deterring global greenhouse gas emissions and we start using alternative energy, giving up the use of fossil fuels, the better.
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A diver surveys bleached coral along the Great Barrier Reef.
This is the fourth time in 20 years the reef has been subject to such extreme bleaching. What's happening in the Great Barrier Reef is the highest profile case of the stress coral are under.
James Cook University's Mia Hoogenboom carried out a number of underwater assessments for the survey, and said she documented damage to mound-shaped corals that tend to be more resistant to bleaching.
Researchers have declared that this year coral bleaching event has severely affected the central part of the reef. The same approach has been used to examine the effects of three previous bleaching events in 1998, 2002, and 2016.
Although bleached coral can recover if water temperatures decrease, their survival is not guaranteed. Last year was bad enough; this year is a disaster year.
The plan has been submitted to the federal government in the country.
Other factors contribute to reef death, including water pollution-but global warming has eclipsed those factors in terms of devastation.
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Apr 13 2017