Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lost 50 per cent of corals, credit to high temperatures

New Delhi : Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has lost around 50 per cent of its corals in the last three decades and there are fears that it will not be recovered due to frequent bleaching.

Record-breaking temperatures that triggered bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 have meant fewer small, baby corals and breeding adult ones, said Terry Hughes, professor at ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

“That means the resilience of the reef, its ability to bounce back from recurrent mass bleaching events, has been compromised,” said Hughes.

“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size, but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline.”

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The massive damage from bleaching was reported in starting months of the current year. The reef suffered its most extensive bleaching event in March, the third one in five years.

The Great Barrier Reef runs 2,300 km (1,429 miles) down Australia’s northeast coast spanning an area half the size of Texas. It was world heritage listed in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

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