Known as the most amazing coral reef system in the world because of its size, making it the largest one and it is composed of 2,900 individual reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is truly great because of how large it is and it can even be seen from the outer space thanks to the billions of tiny organisms that built it.
Located in the Coral Sea of the Australian waters, people all over the world go there to see it’s pure natural beauty. Because of that, it has been chosen in 1981 as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Unfortunately, some parts of the Great Barrier Reef has been reportedly destroyed despite the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, continue reading to find out more about it.
A view of the Great Barrier Reef from space
Half Of The Great Barrier Reef Is Dead
Stretches out for 1,400 miles along the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, which is known to be the largest coral reef system in the entire world, has actually lost 50 percent of its amazing corals. This particular reef that could actually be seen from the outer space have had the most colorful biodiversity but it can now be considered as some sort of a ghost town underwater.
Half of Great Barrier Reef dead because of coral bleaching
In 2016, it actually suffered from coral bleaching and the following coral bleaching last year have made it all worse. The bleaching events that occurred for two consecutive years has definitely affected the coral reefs in a bad way that it can now be seen. Ecologists have actually confirmed that about half of the Great Barrier Reef has been destroyed.
Coral reefs are not exactly capable of making their own food, which is why the photosynthetic algae that it’s connecting with is considered to be incredibly delicate. These algae are the ones that provide energy to the coral reefs, as well as the oxygen that helps filter all of the coral waste and coral reefs give them a home to live in exchange. Unfortunately, the coral reefs could kick out all the algae living in them whenever the temperature of the water in the ocean raises because it basically stresses them out that it would then lead to the corals being famished.
This is known to be the process of coral bleaching since the beautiful colors of the corals change into something colorless because they’re starving. Every starving living thing on the planet eventually dies when the time comes and unfortunately, this is what happened to corals of Great Barrier Reef the last two years.
Causes and Threats
There is only one reason for coral bleaching, and that is if the ocean water gets hot that the temperature would raise about one or two degrees. Coral bleaching is the cause of death of all the corals in about half of the Great Barrier Reef. So technically, the raised ocean water temperature is to blame.
Then again, human-induced climate change plays a huge part of it, it is not just El Niño itself. Based on the study conducted and published in Nature, the most stable coral reef system in all of the earth waters is the Great Barrier Reef, thanks to the protection of the Australian government, unfortunately, it was not enough since mankind does not stand a chance against nature.
According to University of North Carolina’s marine biologist John Bruno, there are some corals in the said reef that are like a decade old, and in order for them to reestablished, it could probably take another decade. Provided the ocean would have to be uninterrupted and extremely healthy for the corals, which seems to be impossible because of climate change.
Global warming can no longer be stopped but it could be slowed down, however, this does not guarantee that the coral reefs under the sea will last for so long. It takes 10,000 years for a coral reef form to grow just like what the Great Barrier Reef have,since they approximately grow 2 centimeters every single year and 10 centimeters for the branches.
Coral reefs serves as the forest of the ocean, a lot of marine species live there and without these corals, a lot of species would also lose their home and without a home, they could go extinct, just like what is happening to land animals because of deforestation.