Coral reef: Large parts of the Great Barrier Reef are destroyed

Heat has caused a mass coral death in the year 2016. Now researchers are quantifying the damage. They say: Without drastic protective measures, the reef does not survive.

Coral reef: Large parts of the Great Barrier Reef are destroyed

A heatwave has destroyed almost a third of Australian Great Barrier Reef in year 2016 and damaged even more. The reef on norast coast of country has a total length of 2,300 kilometers – as scientists from Australia and USA now reported in journal Nature, warming damaged corals of reef at a length of more than 1,000 kilometers.

The corals died of heat, said Professor Terry Hughes according to a message from James Cook University in Townsville. "They are not starved to death, y have died directly as a result of heat stress," said Hugh, director of Centre for Coral Reef Studies. The researchers cite a combination of climate change and phenomenon of El Niño as reason for strong warming of water.

"When corals fade after a heat wave, y can eir survive and slowly recover ir color as soon as temperature drops – or y may die," says Hughes. Only in nine months between March and November 2016, about 30 percent of corals of entire Great Barrier Reef were lost. According to Nature article, deadly coral bleaching between 2016 and 2017 was as extensive as ever.

World Natural Heritage in danger

Without drastic measures to protect reef, remaining corals would not be able to survive, said one of authors of study, Terry Hughes of Australian James Cook University, news agency AFP. As some species of coral could better adapt to rising sea temperatures than ors, entire ecosystem of reef, which many or marine creatures depend on, is changing.

The researchers now want to prioritise preservation of remaining coral populations. The pollution of coasts must be stopped. They also called for greater efforts in fight against climate change.

According to scientists, a billion corals are currently living in Great Barrier Reef. UNESCO had declared it 1981 as a world Natural heritage site. The huge area, consisting of 2,500 individual reefs, houses a unique flora and fauna and is fundamental to functioning of ecosystem of seas. For years, however, coral reef has been shrinking as a result of climate change, water pollution, port economy and fisheries.

Date Of Update: 20 April 2018, 12:03

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