Great Barrier Reef sees second year of bleaching
Yesterday's survey of the central third of the Reef's length revealed severe bleaching; this area largely escaped last year's event, according to the GBRMPA.
A new survey will be conducted on the reef by Professor Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University from Wednesday next week, and Hughes said the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble.
"This is an important meeting to discuss the reef's health and highlight the work we are doing to improve water quality and reduce threats". "In many areas, people are causing declines in coral reefs because of pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction", he said.
The region was home to some of the worst bleaching a year ago and coral have been weakened by months on end of continued heat.
This is the first time we've had back-to-back bleaching.
While mildly bleached corals can recover if the temperature drops and the algae return, severely bleached corals die.
"As we saw past year, bleaching and mortality can be highly variable across the 344,000 square kilometre Marine Park - an area bigger than Italy", Wachenfeld stated.
The past few months have brought another rough summer for the Great Barrier Reef, which is suffering a major bleaching event for the second year in a row.
When water is too warm, corals expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white.
"There is no doubt that if we do not get our act together globally we will have serious damage to the barrier reef, we could see the barrier reef lose a huge amount of biodiversity, when you look at the Cayman islands they have about 30 species of coral and we have 300".
"This is the second significant coral bleaching event in 12 months, but we don't believe it to be as bad as last year's event, but a lot will depend on the weather, with warm temperatures forecast".
The survey will replicate one past year that drew global attention to the extent of damage to the natural wonder. However, it is believed that the site remains on the organisation's "watch list".
Environmental groups are acting against the proposed construction of the largest coal mine in Australia, which could significantly contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions.
The Greenpeace campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said the Australian and Queensland governments should rethink their support of the giant proposed Adani coalmine, given its potential contribution to climate change.
"We have on our doorstep the clearest signal that climate change is happening, and that governments aren't moving fast enough to stop it".