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Another Mass Bleaching Occurs In Great Barrier Reef

First Posted: Mar 10, 2017 03:40 AM EST
Coral Bleaching
White corals mean that they are dying. and coral bleaching has been aggressive in Australia and other parts of the globe.
(Photo : Biopixel/YouTube screenshot)

For the second year in a row, a mass coral bleaching made its way to the Great Barrier Reef. This is unprecedented, with these two events occurred so closely together.

Biologist Brett Monroe Garner told BuzzFeed News that images released by Greenpeace showed that warmer water temperatures have been "cooking the reef alive." He also noted that the photos taken showed nearly 100 percent of the corals have been bleaching. Also, there is no way to know how many could recover as algae have been overgrowing on many of the corals already.

Coral bleaching has been known to occur in abnormally high sea temperatures, as the corals expel tiny photosynthetic algae that turn them into white. Often, these are killing the corals. Without the algae in the corals, they can no longer get sufficient food source, so they essentially starve to death.

Environmental groups are acting against the proposed construction of the largest coal mine in Australia, which could significantly contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions. Alix Foster Vander Elst, a campaigner for Greenpeace, said that so far this is the clearest signal of the existence of climate change, and the government itself is not moving fast enough to stop it.

"While the reef is fighting for its life, the Australian government is funding its destruction. Tackling climate change is the only real solution here, and that starts by stopping public funding for climate-killing coal projects," Alix Foster Vander Elst said.

The iconic status of the Great Barrier Reef gives it the most attention in coral bleaching. But as Yahoo noted, there are many other reefs around the world that are experiencing the same bleaching problem. For instance, these include the Chagos Reefs in the middle of the Indian Ocean covering an area as large as France.

There is no way to stop coral bleaching, although there had been suggestions to focus on removing stressors such as overfishing in these coral-rich areas. However, the Chagos islands were said to have already been deprived of such pressures but remain susceptible to the effects of global warming and coral bleaching.

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