Nature lovers should brace themselves for some disturbing news – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its second consecutive coral bleaching – which may lead to several ecosystems being destroyed.
This is the second mega coral bleaching phenomenon in two years. As reported in November 2016, the Great Barrier Reef had been struck by this unfortunate heat event and many organisms had perished.
The reef has not got enough time to recover from that calamity and lo and behold, it has happened again!
What Is The Great Barrier Reef?
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral ecosystem, located in the Coral Sea in the Australian territory. It can be seen from outer space too, as the reef system stretches out for approximately 1,400 miles. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which surveys and controls human encroachment and abuse of the reef territory.
The Coral Bleaching Phenomena
Coral bleaching is the event in which the symbiotic relationship between the algae and the coral is damaged, and the algae are lost, leading the coral to lose its colorful pigment and subsequently die. This occurs generally due to global warming, over-fishing and water contamination to name a few.
How Bad Is the Damage?
Representatives from the Marine Park Authority, along with scientists of the Australian Institute of Marine Science had flown over the Reef for six hours, surveying the damage. They saw that the reef had been severely affected, with the phenomenon being recorded for the first time in the northern reach of the reef, towards Cairns.
The central part of the reef, which was not affected last year, has taken a hit too. The survey is in line with several word-of-mouth stories about the reef being hit by a second wave of bleaching.
“To some extent it’s not as important whether this event is not quite as bad or worse than last year’s, I think what’s important is that the climate is changing and that is bringing a much greater frequency of extreme weather events to the Great Barrier Reef,” said Wachenfeld in an interview to ABC News.
The experts and scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies will take another aerial tour of the reef next week. They will survey 1150 reefs along the stretch again.
This bleaching highlighted the importance of global action on climate change, Wachenfeld said.”It’s vital the world acts to implement the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.
The second consecutive coral bleaching incident is bound to scar the reef permanently. It can be only hoped that the impact will not be too large on the ecosystem.