The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said Thursday that warming of the sea, particularly in February, has caused enormous damage to the corals. These losses are visible in aerial surveys of approximately one thousand reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef is located off the northeast coast of Australia. It covers a larger area than Italy and is the largest coral reef in the world. It is also one of the richest ecosystems on the planet.
Successive launderings affected the reef in 2016 and 2017, killing between one third and half of the corals.
Aerial surveys of the region’s 344,000 square kilometers show that “some areas of the southern reef that were not or only slightly affected in 2016 and 2017 have now undergone moderate or severe bleaching“, according to the authorities.
The main tourist reefs in the areas north and in the center of the barrier are laundered moderately, the GBRMPA also indicates. Most corals should recover. Authorities say they identified “unaffected pockets of the reef with healthy areas“.
Not all bleached corals die. Most corals “slightly” or “moderately“Bleached fish have a good chance of recovery. The mortality rate is higher on severely affected reefs.