Devastating Images Reveal The Grim Reality Of Coral Reefs

Posted: May 12 2016, 12:25pm CDT | by , Updated: May 12 2016, 10:57pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Devastating Images Reveal the Grim Reality of Coral Reefs
Bleached Corals Credit: Justin Marshall, CoralWatch, Univresity of Queensland

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More than 90 percent of corals on the Great Barrier Reef are already dead due to widespread bleaching.

Australian researchers have captured some exclusive close-up images of coral reef colonies around Lizard Island and these images reflect the full extent of damage done to the delicate system.

The images illustrate that corals of Great Barrier Reef are dying rapidly and it is the larger-scale bleaching that is mainly responsible for this devastation.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system located off the coast of Queensland. Recent researchers estimate that more than 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef is affected by the bleaching. Bleaching occurs when coral reefs lose algae that give them color and this happens either due to due to increased sea temperature or extreme weather events like El Nino.

“These photos show a story… the shocking thing to think about is what you’re seeing there is happening over a 1000-kilometer stretch of the reef, to at least half of it. An area of the Great Barrier Reef the size of Scotland has coral that is dying right now. Or dead – probably dead.” Justin Marshall, a biologist at the University of Queensland told The Guardian.

Coral reefs play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems of oceans as they provide food and shelter to many marine species and millions of people depend on these animals both in terms of economy and food.

The system of Great Barrier Reef is listed as World Heritage Site and its structure is made up of millions of tiny organisms known as coral polyps. The widespread bleaching event urges scientists to call for urgent action to prevent the reef from complete destruction.

“The thing that stuck me about this event is two things. The severity of the bleaching in first place. And the rapidity of the death, which I was completely blown away by,” said Marshall. “When I went up to the reef in March I was already seeing corals that were dying.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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