According to a new report by the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC), a non-profit organization, they are reporting that the Queensland State Government is claiming that parts of the Great Barrier Reef is showing “significant signs” of recovery from years of bleaching.
This report comes after years of severe bleaching in the GBR where the northern half has lost more than 50% of total reef coverage. So as exciting as the chance of the reef possibly recovering, the fate of the world’s coral reefs are still looking extremely grim.
What we are seeing currently happening in the GBR is that a much milder 2017-2018 summer. The milder weather has allowed for parts of the reef to regain some of its health following the catastrophic 2016 summer. Unfortunately for the GBR and reefs around the world, global water temperatures are expected to continue to rise which will lead to more bleaching events.
“Saxon Reef, for example, suffered some form of bleaching on 47.1 percent of its live coral cover during the 2016 event. Fortunately, much of the bleached coral recovered thanks to better conditions experienced in 2018,” Sheriden Morris, RRRC Managing Director, said in a statement.
“We all know that the reef may suffer further bleaching events as the climate continues to warm, but we have to do everything we possibly can to help protect our Great Barrier Reef,” he warned
Corals thrive through a mutual relation with micro algae that live in their tissues. The coral provide a safe haven and while the photosynthetic algae provide the “food.” If the algae become stressed by disease, pollution, or temperatures, then the algae leave the coral resulting in coral bleaching. Once gone, the corals lose an energy source, become weak and susceptible to disease.
Even though corals only cover 1% of the ocean floor, corals are of the utmost importance to the oceans as they form the nurseries and habitats for about a quarter of the ocean’s fish.
Saving reefs worldwide is going to be a challenge to say the least but the most important thing we as a society need to do to have a chance is slow climate change. Unfortunately, if we stay the current path we are headed, too much man-made change will occur resulting in a significant if not total lost of tropical coral reefs.