Parts Of Great Barrier Reef Show Highest Coral Cover Seen In

Hardy Reef is seen from the air close to the Whitsunday Islands, Australia on this picture supplied by the Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Jumbo Aerial Images | AP. Through Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Two-thirds of the Nice Barrier Reef in Australia has recorded the very best coral cowl in almost 4 a long time, a monitoring group mentioned on Thursday, though the reef remains to be weak to local weather change and widespread bleaching.

In response to a report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the northern and central elements of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed reef have seen some enchancment, whereas the southern area has suffered a lack of coral cowl on account of an outbreak of Crown-of-Thorn starfish. a authorities company.

AIMS CEO Paul Hardisty mentioned that whereas coral within the north and central areas was an indication that the reef might be recovering from disturbances, the lack of coral within the southern area demonstrated how the reef was nonetheless weak to “continued intense and extreme disturbances”. . are extra frequent and longer lasting.”

Rising ocean temperatures have prompted widespread and extreme bleaching of the Nice Barrier Reef. The reef was hit notably arduous by underwater warmth waves in 2016 and 2017 that prompted bleaching occasions. This yr, it’s struggling the sixth mass bleaching on account of warmth stress attributable to local weather change.

“Each summer time the reef is threatened by temperature stress, bleaching and potential mortality, and our understanding of how ecosystems reply remains to be evolving,” Hardisty mentioned in a media launch.

“The bleaching occasions of 2020 and 2022, whereas widespread, didn’t attain the depth of the occasions of 2016 and 2017 and, consequently, we now have seen decrease mortality charges,” Hardisty mentioned. “These newest outcomes recommend that the reef should still be recovering in a interval free from acute disturbances.”

Following the report, UNESCO final yr proposed to incorporate the Nice Barrier Reef within the record of World Heritage Websites which might be at risk. A gathering was to be held in Russia in June to debate the way forward for the rock, however was canceled after the invasion of Ukraine.

The report mentioned that within the central and northern areas, arduous coral cowl reached 33% and 36%, respectively, this yr, the very best stage recorded previously 36 years of monitoring. In the meantime, areawide arduous coral cowl on reefs within the southern area fell to 34% this yr, in comparison with 38% a yr in the past.

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