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The Great Barrier Reef’s Fragile Comeback


Image courtesy of Wix

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and most biodiverse coral reef with over 300 types of coral. It is also home to over 1,000 species of fish and mollusks. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, the Great Barrier Reef has become gray, broken, and barren of the colorful fish that once lived there.


Recently, the Great Barrier Reef recorded the highest amount of coral coverage in 40 years. But this new coverage is still vulnerable to bleaching and climate change. According to CNBC “The Great Barrier Reef has suffered from widespread and severe bleaching due to rising ocean temperatures... in 2016 and 2017 the reef was hit the hardest and wiped out more than a third of the coral.”


Another issue that is plaguing the Great Barrier Reef is the invasion of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and tropical cyclones. The coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish eats up a dinner plate of coral every day! Marine biologists have to either cull the starfish with injections or use vinegar, but the immense amount of them makes it difficult to cull them all.


Marine biologists say that the new coral coverage shows that reefs can recover from damaging events and stress, but there is still so much that they don’t know about how this ecosystem responds. New things are being learned every year.


Why do people care so much about reefs? Reefs protect our coastlines against natural disasters, like hurricanes and tropical storms, and help prevent erosion. They provide essential habitats for a diverse population of marine animals and are a source of food and income for thousands of people across the world.


So, what can we do to help the Great Barrier Reef or reefs closer to home? One of the biggest things we can do to help save any reef is to use reef-friendly sun protection. Certain ingredients in our sunscreen can be dangerous to coral and even kill them. Another thing we can do is recycle and dispose of our trash properly. Picking up trash left on beaches or near any waterways is a great way to help reduce pollution in our oceans. This not only helps coral reefs but marine animals as well since they can eat or get stuck in our trash. Lastly, we can reduce our carbon footprint. Choosing to walk or ride a bike instead of driving, not using single-use plastics, and reducing food waste can all


 

References


Emma_newburger. (2022, August 5). Parts of great barrier reef show highest coral cover seen in 36 years. CNBC. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/04/great-barrier-reef-areas-show-highest-coral-cover-seen-in-36-years.html


Saving the great barrier reef. AIMS. (2022, March 24). Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.aims.gov.au/information-centre/news-and-stories/saving-great-barrier-reef


Turnbull, T. (2022, August 4). Great Barrier Reef sees record coral cover, but it is highly vulnerable. BBC News. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62402891





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