Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Great Barrier Reef: Is the Great Barrier Reef dying? What lives in the Great Barrier Reef? | World | News

Is the Great Barrier Reef dying?

Coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef, are dying across the world.

It is thought that the Great Barrier Reef has been suffering as a result of escalating climate change.

With rising sea temperatures, there is the possibility of coral bleaching.

According to the National Ocean Service, coral bleaching occurs as corals become stressed by a change in conditions, they expel the algae living in their tissues.

Stressed coral may eventually turn into bleached coral, which means the coral turns completely white.

However, coral bleaching is not the only threat to the Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Project Director, Restoration, Science & Innovation, Dr Petra Lundgren, told

“The Reef faces serious challenges from a changing climate, with poorer water quality and rising water temperatures as well as increased natural disasters and Crown-of-thorns outbreaks which have led to a 50% decline in coral cover since the early 1980s.

“(However) the good news is that coral reefs are naturally resilient.

“By reducing threats and minimising impacts we enable reefs to naturally recover.”

The recent GBRMPA report stated “the window of opportunity to improve the reef’s long-term future is now,” suggesting implementing changes now could benefit the Reef’s long-term future.

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What lives in the Great Barrier Reef?

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 species of fish.

In terms of coral, the Reef is home to one-third of the world’s soft corals, and 411 types of hard coral.

134 species of sharks and rays have been spotted on the Reef, as have six of the world’s seven species of threatened marine turtles.

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Crown-of-thorns starfish also frequent the Great Barrier Reef, although their population sizes are of huge concern to conservationists.

In ordinary numbers, the crown-of-thorns starfish- who eats coral- is a vital part of the Reef’s ecosystem.

Their feeding patterns can help to keep coral populations at a stable level.

However, in recent years, outbreaks crown of thorns starfish have been the target of culls, in order to preserve the coral reefs.

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