93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by coral bleaching
A recently released report revealed a heartwrenching discovery about Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found that at least 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef suffers from coral bleaching.
The bleaching phenomenon occurs when corals are stressed by high water temperatures or other causes. Severe bleaching could lead to the death of corals.
The task force surveyed 911 coral reefs by air and the accuracy of the researchers initial aerial surveys have been confirmed by scientific divers who are continuing to measure the impact of the bleaching. Dive teams have already discovered about 50 percent coral death.
"We have now flown over 911 individual reefs in a helicopter and light plane, to map out the extent and severity of bleaching along the full 2300km length of the Great Barrier Reef. Of all the reefs we surveyed, only 7% (68 reefs) have escaped bleaching entirely. At the other end of the spectrum, between 60 and 100% of corals are severely bleached on 316 reefs, nearly all in the northern half of the Reef," Professor Terry Hughes, head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University said in a statement.
Hughes tweeted a map showing the results of the bleaching that hit the northern parts of the reef hardest:
I showed the results of aerial surveys of #bleaching on the #GreatBarrierReef to my students, And then we wept. pic.twitter.com/bry5cMmzdn
— Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) April 19, 2016
See images of the Great Barrier Reef below: