Reports of the 1,400-mile network of reefs ‘passed away in 2016 after a long illness’ are greatly exaggerated despite mass bleaching, scientists say
There are viral articles about how the Great Barrier Reef is dead. However, the word dead and dying are completely different.
The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness,” reads the sensational obituary, published Tuesday in Outside Blog. “It was 25 million years old.”
While there is no denying that the Great Barrier Reef is in serious trouble, it still is not dead. The Great Barrier Reef is however seriously. Especially due to the El’ Nino and Climate Changes. In April, scientists from the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found that the most severe coral bleaching event on record had impacted the reef.
Initial findings published of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority surveys show 22 percent of its coral died from the bleaching event. That leaves around 78% of it alive but in desperate need of relief. Bleaching occurs when prolonged high temperatures cause coral to expel their symbiotic algae, turning them into snow-white skeletons. Corals can recover from this but some simply die. Divers on the Reef have spotted large areas with degraded coral. Some have reported the smell of rotting, dying coral when they emerge from the deep.
While almost all parts of the Great Barrier Reef suffered bleaching, not all have died. Scientists hope that large parts of the ecosystem will recover, although the long-term warming and acidifying of the oceans pose a grave threat to reefs around the world.
The Great Barrier Reef located off the coast of Queensland, Australia is the world’s largest reef system. It extends more than 1,400 miles. It consists of some 3,000 individual reefs and is home to more than 100 islands.