Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

Another Mass Bleaching Occurs In Great Barrier Reef

Another Mass Bleaching Occurs In Great Barrier Reef

Documentation of the Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas from Greenpeace Australia Pacific, shows damage of coral.

However, Wachenfeld said it was too soon to know how this year's bleaching event compared to that seen last year.

Australia hasn't done almost enough to protect its most valuable national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef, according to environmental advocates.

Images released by Greenpeace show another year of above average water temperatures is "cooking the reef alive", according to biologist Brett Monroe Garner. About a fifth of the corals died during the event.

This is the second mega coral bleaching phenomenon in two years.

The back-to-back bleaching is also an indication that the coral is losing its ability to recover from extreme heat, Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said in the release.

"Many coral species appear to be more susceptible to bleaching after more than 12 months of sustained above-average ocean temperatures".

"As we saw a year ago, bleaching and mortality can be highly variable across the 344,000 square kilometre Marine Park - an area bigger than Italy", Wachenfeld stated.

"It's time for us to look at anything and everything to protect the great barrier reef - and there are things that we can do, we can be out there dealing more actively with crown of thorns, put a third boat on and make sure the coral left after a bleaching event isn't being eaten out by crown of thorns".

The algae that live inside corals give them their extraordinary color and provide the nutrients corals need to live, but corals have a limited temperature range in which they can survive.

Last year's event was the worst on record, killing an estimated 22 per cent of all coral, with damage most severe in the remote far north.

"What's happening with global warming is that these events are becoming the new normal", he told BuzzFeed News.

Dr Cantin said the "extent and severity" of this year's bleaching would not be known for another month. However, it is believed that the site remains on the organisation's "watch list".

"While the reef is fighting for its life, the Australian government is funding its destruction".

Hughes warns that Australia and governments around the world are not doing enough to act on climate change.

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.

'We are extremely concerned moving into the future'.

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