Parts of the Great Barrier Reef have the highest density of coral seen in the last 36 years

Two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef had the greatest coral cover for almost four decades, although the reef remains highly vulnerable to climate change and mass bleaching.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered widespread and severe bleaching of coral reefs due to rising ocean temperatures.

New report.

The northern and central parts of the reef have seen some recoverywhile the southern region has suffered a loss of coral cover due to outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, a government agency.

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the northern and central areas of the reef, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, have seen some recovery, while the southern region has suffered a loss. of coral cover due to starfish outbreaks.

AIMS chief executive Paul Hardisty said while the coral in the northern and central regions was a sign that the reef could recover from a disturbance, the loss of coral in the southern region demonstrated how vulnerable the reef remains to ongoing acute and severe disturbances that occur more frequently and last longer.

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered widespread and severe bleaching of coral reefs due to rising ocean temperatures. The reef was particularly affected in 2016 and 2017 by underwater heat waves which triggered bleaching episodes. This year it is experiencing a sixth mass bleaching due to heat stress caused by climate change.

Each summer, the reef is exposed to heat stress, bleaching and potentially mortality.

The bleaching events of 2020 and 2022, although significant, did not reach the intensity of the events of 2016 and 2017, and a decline in mortality was observed as a result.

The report comes after UNESCO proposed last year to add the Great Barrier Reef to a list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. A meeting to discuss the future of the reef was due to take place in Russia in June, but was canceled after the invasion of Ukraine.

More information: www.aims.gov.au

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