Australian scientists have reported that much of the Great Barrier Reef is showing the highest level of coral coverage in 36 years.
More than 65% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has recorded its highest amount of coral coverage in 36 years. While this is very good news, unfortunately the reef remains vulnerable to climate change and massive coral fading.
In the central and northern regions, hard coral cover reached 33% and 36%, respectively, this year. This is the highest level that scientists have recorded in the last 36 years. Unfortunately, in the southern region, hard coral cover fell from 38% to 34% this year.
A team of scientists who monitor the state of the reef reported that the northern and central parts have recorded some recovery. Unfortunately, the situation is much worse in the south, where there has been an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science reported that this region has seen the loss of some coral cover.
Commenting on the situation, the director general of AIMS Paul Hardisty said that the situation in the northern and central parts of the reef is a sign that it may be recovering. Unfortunately, what is happening in the southern part is a reminder that the Great Barrier Reef is still susceptible to strong changes, and further developments are not a foregone conclusion.
Undoubtedly, the condition of the reef is seriously impaired. The world’s largest coral reef has suffered serious damage due to massive coral fading. This is a phenomenon that increasingly haunts coral reefs around the world. Its cause is the rising temperature of the seas and oceans. The effects of the mass fading of 2016 and 2017 have been particularly severe. The heat waves have caused huge losses that have seriously affected the welfare of the reefs.
Every summer, the reef is threatened by temperature stress and fading. Therefore, we are still trying to better understand the process and how the ecosystem reacts – Paul Hardisty said.
Certainly, the coral fades of 2020 and 2022 are cause for optimism. Although they covered vast areas of the reef, they were much less intense than those in 2016 and 2017. As a result, coral mortality was much lower. As a result, the condition of the reef has improved nicely and scientists say there is still a chance for the Great Barrier Reef to recover.
Photo CC BY 3.0 – Creative Commons
If you want to get to know these wonderful creatures better, you have to read the article by Małgorzata Sobońska. Her text about Humbacks can be found in the 17th issue the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version you can buy in our online shop.
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