Great Barrier Reef under threat after worst ever 'bleaching' incident

Posted March 12, 2017

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and its partners took to the skies on Thursday to conduct aerial surveys of the reef between Cairns and Townsville. "The corals aren't getting the chance to bounce back from last year's bleaching event" he said.

Marine biologist and conservation photographer for Greenpeace Brett Monroe Garner filmed the coral on February 20 and in a statement via Greenpeace said, "I've been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented".

While mildly bleached corals can recover if the temperature drops and the algae return, severely bleached corals die.

Greenpeace marine biologist Brett Monroe Garner, travelled to a reef halfway between Port Douglas and Cairns to take the shots that show widespread damage in an area that he claims was full of life just a few short months ago.

Coral is composed of thousands of small creatures called polyps that can only thrive in a very narrow range of temperatures.

"This is the first time we have ever seen bleaching in back-to-back summers", Cantin said, adding that more work is needed to be done to slow down the ramifications of global warning.

"We have to be reducing the amount of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and addressing the local stressors so the coral can have the best chance to survive".

A dramatic new video has captured the Great Barrier Reef suffering mass bleaching for an unprecedented second year in a row.

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The collected findings "regrettably" provided adequate evidence to confirm the reef had experienced another mass bleaching, GBRMPA reef recovery director Dr. David Wachenfeld said, speaking with the ABC.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral ecosystem, located in the Coral Sea in the Australian territory.

Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.

The second consecutive coral bleaching incident is bound to scar the reef permanently.

The process happens when algae living inside it is expelled. The Carmichael mine in the state of Queensland is set to be a climate bomb that endangers the reef and defies the Paris climate agreement.

In 2016, scientists confirmed a coral die-off as a result of a sustained period of bleaching was the worst on record, with more than two-thirds of corals killed in some areas.

Canberra in 2015 narrowly avoided UNESCO putting the reef on its endangered list, and has committed more than Aus$2.0 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect it over the next decade.

Environmental groups have heavily criticised the proposed construction of the world's largest coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin, which will produce 60 million tonnes of coal a year and significantly contribute to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.