Australia’s Great Barrier reef is spawning with life, giving hope to scientists

Australia’s Great Barrier reef is spawning with life, giving hope to scientists

The yearly coral spawn on the Great Barrier Reef has “given birth,” resulting in a parade of colour on the Australian monument.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best-known and most complex natural systems on the planet, accounting for around 10% of the world’s coral reef ecosystems.

Scientists operating under the waters said they saw the occurrence. Coral releases sperm and eggs in large numbers simultaneously, late Tuesday off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, hailing it as proof that the reef can recover despite environmental concerns.

“Nothing brings people joy like new life, and coral spawning is the world’s greatest demonstration of that,” Australian marine biologist Gareth Phillips, who witnessed this year’s coral spawn firsthand, said in a statement released by Queensland Tourism and Events.

Philips and his team of marine scientists, divers, students, and photographers from Reef Teach plunged to the ocean’s depths off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, to take film of coral. They’ll be filming and observing various reef areas throughout the following few days.

The footage will allow scientists to track this year’s coral crop and the Great Barrier Reef’s overall health, which is protected by UNESCO and escaped a World Heritage Committee “in danger” ranking this year.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2012, the reef has lost more than half of its coral cover since 1985, a finding reaffirmed by a study published in 2020, which found that over half of the reef’s coral cover had been lost between 1995 and 2017, with the effects of a widespread 2020 bleaching event not yet quantified.

Coral Bleaching

According to a March 2016 assessment, coral bleaching is more extensive than previously anticipated, wreaking havoc on the reef’s northern reaches due to rising ocean temperatures. Outside magazine released an obituary for the reef in October 2016, panned for being premature and impeding attempts to strengthen the reef’s resilience.

Vast pieces of an 800-kilometre (500-mile) length in the northern half of the reef died in 2016 due to high water temperatures, according to a report published in the journal Nature in March 2017. The scientists attributed the incident to the consequences of global climate change. The number of newborn corals born on the Great Barrier Reef fell dramatically in 2018, prompting experts to declare it the start of a “massive natural selection process unfolding.” The bleaching episodes of 2016-17 killed many mature breeding individuals, resulting in poor coral birth rates. If the tendency continues, the types of corals that reproduce will alter, resulting in a “long-term reorganization of the reef ecology.”

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act of 1975 (section 54) requires an Outlook Report on the Reef’s health, stresses, and prospects every five years. The most recent report was released in 2019.

Source: Nature World News

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