The Great Barrier Reef Is Dying

The Great Barrier Reef Is Dying

Great Barrier Reef, Dying, Environment, Global Warming-Australia

Scientists who are researching on the The Great Barrier Reef stated that the mass bleaching incident that happened during the March and April of this year has killed nearly 700 km stretch of the 2,300 km long reef, which is the biggest reef in the world. This was the third incident of bleaching of the reef that has been recorded and is stated to be the worst till now.

Image Source: sciencemag

The bleaching occurred in the northern part of the reef. Terry Hughes, who heads the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University stated, that “Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef”. Adding that “This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected.”

Image Source: newscientist

The bleaching of the coral reefs is directly related to environmental changes. As the temperature increases in the sea the coral reefs release tiny photosynthetic algae, which causes them to lose their color and turn white. The algae in the reefs are considered vital for their existence, as algae sustains by photosynthesis and the reefs uses the organic products to sustain itself. The loss of algae may cause the reef, which is a host to plethora of species, to become vulnerable to diseases and lead to their death.

Image Source: wallpapercave

Scientists say that that there can be recovery of the reef and it can gain back the algae, but the process is very slow. It requires the water temperature to decrease to levels at which the reefs can sustain. But they say it might take the Great Barrier Reef nearly 10-15 years to gain what it has lost. There are also fears that any further bleaching event might push the recovery further back.

Image Source: wallpapercave

Environmental organisations say that the cause of this situation is global warming, Greenpeace Australia has blamed the increase in coal mining in the coastal areas near the reef as one of the main reasons. Other reasons include development, farm runoff and coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish. Shani Tager, reef campaigner of Greenpeace Australia says, “A credible plan to protect the reef must address climate change and start with a ban on new coal mines”.

The coral reefs are considered as ecosystem, loss of reefs will cause the loss of marine organisms and creatures that live in that ecosystem.

Information Source: thehindu

Title Image Source: climatechangenews

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Rajdeep Karmakar (WRITER)

Rajdeep Karmakar writes for Reacho. If you wish to get in touch with them, drop in a mail at